San Francisco

Two Arrested at Suspected Brothel Across From Serra High School in San Mateo

Two men were arrested Monday night in connection with a suspected brothel operation inside a home just across the street from Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, according to police.

Jin Zhen, 25, and Ruibiano Li, 27, both of San Francisco, were arrested and booked into San Mateo County jail on suspicion of running a prostitution ring out of a residence across from the exclusive private high school and not far down the road from City Hall, police said.

Undercover detectives had been watching the home for a couple weeks, after neighbors reported suspicious behavior there, police said.

"The neighbors were complaining about high volume of foot traffic throughout the evening, people coming and going for short periods of time," San Mateo police Sgt. Amanda Vonglahn said.

Vonglahn said investigators were trying to make contact with the women who worked there, saying they could be victims of sex trafficking.

"We are looking into identifying those people so that we can provide resources to get them out of this type of lifestyle," Vonglahn said.

Neighbor Marilyn Niehaus said the news is hard to believe.

"It's kind of scary," she said. "To see this in a residential area like this is really amazing. I can’t believe it’s going on."

Other nearby residents were thankful the brothel was shut down.

"More than anything, it makes me really sad that was going on so close to our home, and we had no idea," said Damaris Avila, who added that she and her daughters had to walk around the block to avoid the police gathering at her neighbor's house.

Police said there is a chance the suspects were operating out of several locations, and the investigation is ongoing.

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