When The Wheel Comes Off And The Chinese Masseuse Doesn’t Speak English

by Travis Mateer

I just wanted an oil change and the winter tires off, but several dealership visits later, the wheel (not just tire) literally came off while I was driving over the Reserve Street bridge on Friday. If I had taken this piece of shit vehicle on the highway earlier in the day, like I had originally planned, the wheel coming off could have killed me.

Instead of dying in a fiery crash, I ended up in a curious conversation with a Chinese woman who spoke zero English because I wanted to let the business know my defunct automobile would be dealt with eventually, but it might take me a few days. And the business? BZ Spa.

The clumsy conversation consisted of the woman scrolling through her phone to find the number for the manager while I pondered silently to myself how unrelentingly weird my life has become. Of course I stumbled onto this “spa” just days after it was reported that a 3rd suspect was arrested in a “trafficking scheme” surrounding a massage parlor on the other side of town, which I wrote about earlier this month in a post titled On Selling Sex In Zoom Town.

From the first link (emphasis mine):

More accusations emerged in an alleged sex trafficking scheme as local officials work to untangle what apparently is a larger, international trafficking web with ties to Missoula.

Last week, a felony attempted sex trafficking charge was filed against a third suspect, identified in court documents as Hui Wang, 55. In May, Yanbin Bao, 52, and Richard R. Bushey, 64, were each charged with a slate of felony human trafficking charges after Missoula sheriff deputies raided their massage parlor business near Blue Mountain Road.

Nearly a month later, Bao and Bushey have not entered pleas to the charges — their arraignment dates have been postponed several times because of court delays. Both are out of custody, having posted bond. 

Well, that’s a lot of interesting information for me to consider. And here’s some MORE information to consider from information that’s publicly available through state database searches, like the Secretary of State website:

From this information I went to the Montana Cadastral website and plugged in the mailing address to see what popped up. This is what popped up:

The more I thought about the geographic positioning of BZ Spa (Reserve Street bridge area) in relation to Soul Massage (Buckhouse bridge area), the more I saw possible similarities, like how both massage parlors were in close proximity to homeless camps; Soul Massage was right near the original location of the Transitional Safe Outdoor Space (TSOS), while BZ Spa is right near the former (and illegal) Reserve Street encampment no-go zone. Interesting.

Let’s go back to the Missoulian article to see how this third suspect got herself nabbed by authorities (emphasis mine):

On May 30, the day after Bushey and Bao were arrested, the affidavit in Wang’s case alleges the property owner was cleaning up the building when he was approached by a woman driving a maroon Mazda with a New York license plate.

She asked the owner about taking over the lease on the parlor business for more money, according to charging documents. The driver was identified by authorities as Wang. A detective learned Wang had a “felony full extradition warrant for ‘impersonation of a licensed professional’ and ‘advertisement online offering sexual services along with illegal massages and conducting outcalls to different locations,’” the affidavit stated. Wang was arrested on the warrant.

Authorities contacted the owner of the land at 5000 Highway 93 South.

“(The property manager) indicated that he has rented the property to many tenants of Asian origin and they often cycle through tenants every few years,” the affidavit in Wang’s case stated.

I wonder, will the focus of this emerging criminal conspiracy with international ties stay conveniently glued to the foreign names and nationalities of the accused? Because it sounds to me like the property owner maybe should have had a clue as to what was transpiring at “Soul Massage”.

Zooming out from these unfolding local cases, an aggregate site I check regularly reports an increasing number of Russian and Chinese nationals are being caught at the souther border. From the link (emphasis mine):

Pfluger highlighted the growing migration crisis resulting from the administration’s policy decisions, leading to significant increases in encounters at the Southwest border. Of particular concern were the encounters involving individuals from what he referenced as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia.

He pointed out that several sheriff’s offices had reported apprehending multiple high-value targets from China, who were subsequently taken into custody by the FBI and cited data from the CBP showing increase in fiscal year 2023 encounters with nationals from various continents by border patrol along the Southwest border.

“In the first seven months of fiscal year 2023, over 9,711 PRC nationals were encountered by U.S. border patrol along our Southwest border exponentially more than the previous three years,” Pfluger said, warning that the “chaos of the Southwest border could be taken advantage of by anti-U.S. regimes.”

The lawmaker went on to emphasize that the expanding influence of China and other foreign adversaries in Latin America posed clear implications for U.S. homeland security. The chairman further stressed the urgent need to address the security challenges associated with nation-state actors in the region.

Another article (yes, Fox News) reports arrests of Chinese nationals at the southern border have risen, in some places, close to 800%. This article was published in February of this year.

From the link (emphasis mine):

A senior Customs and Border Protection (CBP) source said that apprehensions of nationals from China are up 800% compared to the same period last fiscal year when including January — the numbers for which have not yet been released.

According to CBP statistics, there have been 1,862 Border Patrol encounters with Chinese nationals between October, when the fiscal year began, and the end of December. That’s compared to 229 in the same period in FY 2022, which would be a more than 700% increase.

In summary, a near cataclysmic failure of my wheel may have just exposed another node in a vast, international criminal conspiracy involving Chinese nationals and the lucrative sex market servicing sad, lonely men hoping to soften the quiet misery of their lives with erotic massages.

Or, for me, just another Friday in Zoom Town!

If you appreciate my local journalism, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work, and the donation button at my about page is another.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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5 Responses to When The Wheel Comes Off And The Chinese Masseuse Doesn’t Speak English

  1. TC says:

    Its been reported (multiple sources) that street grade/use fentanyl is largely coming from China (via southern pipeline). Im curious if these “rub n’ tugs” are mostly a front to peddle drugs. I realize meth is the drug of choice but Missoula had also seen a huge increase in the use of fentanyl and subsequent ODs over the past decade.
    Have to admire the business model though – set up shop near a congregation on mentally ill substance abusers then ply drugs, sex, whatever other craven desires – profit. If there is enough profit one can heavily invest in the Sawmill district or McCauley Butte (with TIF assistance of course). That investment gets free and clear immigration chits. Import more, set up another blood sucking profit center and repeat.
    If only we had an investigative media ( and law enforcement) that could put two and two together.
    Here’s the thing – USSR/China (communism) knew they could never win a Hot War. But both were willing to play the long con. Starting in the 60’s they knew if they could erode the family unit, convince us to abandon all morals, view ourselves and money as the true God we would implode all on our own. Well, after 50 years of degradation that culminated in the election of Donald Trump (pure narcissism) and Joe Biden (pure Neo-Con) here we are. Russia/China tips a hat to all of us

  2. Mrs Stitch says:

    I found some small foils and a lighter behind the Equinox by the Russell Street bridge stairs. Is that meth para or fent or both?

  3. Pingback: Week In Review: June 26-30 | Zoom Chron Blog

  4. Christopher says:

    You should have taken the highway. Just because someone doesn’t speak English doesn’t mean they are part of a crime syndicate

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