In the indictment filed with the U.S. Eastern District Court earlier this month, Myung Hee Kim was drawn into the case on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, said Robert Nardoza, of the U.S. attorney's office. Her address was not given.
According to the indictment, Kim aided in concealing records that related to the operation of the Renaissance Bar, at 35-28 154th St. in Flushing, where Wun and Kyongja Kang were allegedly forcing women to have sex with men in order to pay off debts. The Kangs imposed fees of up to $20,000 each for having brought the women to New York from Seoul, South Korea, U.S. Department of Justice documents said.
The Kangs were arrested in January, shortly before a customs inspector, Nisim "Nick" Yushuvayev, was arrested on charges of attempting to falsely deport one of the women who was planning to testify against the Kangs, court documents said.
Yushuvayev was charged with obstructing an investigation after he went to the home of one of the women who reported the Kangs, displayed a badge and told her he was there to deport her for illegally working in the United States, police said.
The woman was not deported and reported Yushuvayev, an Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector who worked at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to court documents. Yushuvayev, a Flushing resident, was allegedly working in cooperation with the Kangs, police said. The Kangs were arrested on charges of forced labor.
One source close to the investigation who wished to remain unnamed said he believed Kim was an employee of the Kangs.
Nardoza, the U.S. attorney's office spokesman, said he could not comment further on the case because it was still under investigation.
This is the first of two cases of this nature in Flushing within the past six months.
At the Bool Ggot restaurant, at 41-18 162nd St. in Flushing, two employees told police that their boss, Youkyung Jeong, was forcing them into prostitution in order to pay off debts, police said.
Jeong, a Korean woman from Bayside, was charged with coercion and promoting prostitution, according to court documents. Sources could not confirm if Jeong was imposing the fees for bringing the women into the country.
Her attorney, Frank Bari, is also representing Kim in the case involving Renaissance Bar.
He did not return calls for comment.
At the time of Jeong's arrest, Bari specified the difference between room salons and working houses, both types of Korean businesses.
At a working house, Bari said women are paid for sex, while at a room salon clients are served high-end liquor and food by female waitresses.
Police sources said cops often respond to newspaper ads placed by massage parlors in order to break up prostitution rings.
In both of these cases, women from the businesses approached law enforcement agents.
The Kangs have since been ordered to turn over their two Port Jefferson, L.I. homes and the Renaissance Bar to the authorities.
Nardoza said all four of the defendants were scheduled to meet for a status conference in a U.S. Eastern District court July 30.
Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.
©2004 Community News Group
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