A city hearing pitting a massage parlour against a drop-in centre for troubled youth was sidelined after the owner's representative was arrested on prostitution-related charges. 

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Edmonton police arrest Simon Shum on prostitution-related charges shortly before a hearing into a proposed massage parlour. (CBC)

"I think that speaks volumes to the fact that we're shining a light on this," said Miri Peterson, executive director of Crystal Kids. "It would indicate to me, very strongly, that we are justified in our appeal."

The Edmonton Subdivision and Appeal Board was to hear an appeal by T'so Ha Yung who wants to open a massage parlour on 118th Avenue.

The city had opposed the application because of the lack of parking in the area.

The hearing was also attended by Crystal Kids, a drop-in centre two doors down from the massage parlour location, as well as other community members worried the parlour will be a front for prostitution.

Shortly before proceedings began, a police detective approached Simon Shum, who was representing Ha Yung at the hearing.

After speaking with Shum, the officer searched him before taking him out to a waiting police car. 

The officer told reporters Shum was being charged with prostitution-related charges.

Shum is already facing separate prostitution-related charges from last summer including three counts of keeping a common bawdy house. 

His next court appearance on those charges is May 1.

The appeal hearing will resume on May 2.

Peterson said she will be ready with a 20,000-name petition against the business.