HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Nineteen massage parlors in Horry County have voluntarily closed their doors for good following a public nuisance noticed served by the solicitor’s office.
Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said there’s one left on their list of 20 they served with a public nuisance after a six-month investigation uncovered suspected sexual activity inside the massage parlors.
Court documents show that in some of the cases, the masseuse would offer to perform a sex act on the undercover informant.
People in the area of one of the businesses, Hong Massage, said the news of the store closing is shocking.
“Yeah it shook me, it shook me,” Bawk-Bawk Chicken & Fish employee Cathy Locklear said.
She said for as long as she could remember, Hong Massage was next to where she works and would always joke about what she considered odd behavior outside the parlor.
“It was funny, sometimes I would be working and I would see customers instead of parking in front of the store, they would park over here. I would always make a little joke, employees in the store would say ‘haha they are trying to hide from their wife’,” she said.
The investigation began after Horry County police officers either made prostitution-related arrests or received complaints about sexual activity at the locations.
Richardson said that’s when his office brought in an outside investigator to dig a little deeper.
“From his investigation, we had information that we believed about 20 massage parlors were engaging in nuisance type activity,” he said.
Following the nuisance notice, his office summoned them to court for an opportunity to explain why they weren’t a nuisance. Nineteen of those 20 have since voluntarily closed their doors.
Richardson’s office is now seeking a temporary injunction for the remaining business.
“After a hearing, a judge can close that place for up to one year. Now a year and a day, they can open right back up,” he said.
And while the solicitor’s office works to close the remaining business, some are excited to see what will take their place.
“I would love to see something for the seniors, a senior gathering or something,” Locklear said.
Sincere Kohnen, who works at the store Purple Haze nearby, said he wants to see a store come in that will drive business in the area.
“Something that will bring either a lot more local people this way or even tourists just looking to have a good time at the beach,” Kohnen said.
No word at this time on when Richardson’s office will get that temporary injunction for the last business.