Massage salon South Fremantle can remain open despite brothel allegations

A massage parlor operated out of an office in South Fremantle has been allowed to continue trading despite allegations that it also runs an illegal brothel.

Fremantle city councilors gave Koyuki Sakura a 12-month stay last week but warned that the city would forward any reports of illegal activity at the property to the police.

Koyuki Sakura began offering massage services from an office space in South Terrace in August without formal approval from the municipality or administrative court to change the use of the location from office to retail.

In a written statement, a representative vehemently denied that prostitution had or would take place at the location. Like many others in Perth, they told the council that Koyuki Sakura offered deep tissue and foot massage options.

The lack of approval to run a store sparked a clash at the recent Fremantle council meeting, where councilors granted retroactive but temporary 12-month permission.

Their alternative would have been to reject the proposal and return any decision to the SAT, potentially leaving the company homeless.

“When we have an application for someone to start a floristry business, there is generally no red flag… but massage parlors generally do, and I would like to see us do our due diligence a lot better than we’re done with this particular business on South Terrace,” said Cr Marija Vujcic.

“If we feel this isn’t good for our community, we must stand our ground.”

Cr Andrew Sullivan supported the 12-month plan despite his concerns that the parlor offered more than advertised.

“I think we all have a very strong suspicion that what is suggested by the applicant is not really what they did and is not really what they intend to do,” said Cr Sullivan.

“I know that in my heart, but can I prove that in a way that is adequate in decision-making? That’s the really difficult challenge for us.”

Cr Sullivan said the board specifically asked the company whether it “intends to operate a service of a sexual nature”. The applicants said through a representative that nothing of the kind was offered and never was.

“I want them to know that whatever we do tonight, you will be watched by the strata company that I believe has its capabilities in this area, that community will watch you, and I doubt Don’t worry that they’ll be watching you very closely and you might even get picked up by the community,” said Cr Sullivan.

“And you are being watched by our staff and by ourselves.”

The council decision also limits salon hours and forces the removal of nearly half of the signage currently covering the windows.

The application to change the building use was rejected during a planning committee meeting in December.

That decision was appealed to the SAT in January, with mediation between the business owners, owners of adjacent properties, and owners of the South Terrace property.

The SAT then proposed an amended proposal that would allow Koyuki Sakura to trade for 12 months and prove that it was a genuine massage company.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Rachel Pemberton suggested adding a note to the council decision stating, “the applicant has been informed that reports of illegal activity on the property will be referred to the police for investigation”.

The councilors voted almost unanimously in favor of the amended recommendation, with only Cr Fedele Camarda and Cr Vujcic against it.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.