Online ad led to man's arrest and federal prostitution case

Korean man accused of harboring illegal immigrant for prostitution
By ROBIN FITZGERALD — rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

GULFPORT -- An online escort service ad for a "super hot and sexy Korean girl" led authorities to a Biloxi house where a man from Korea is accused of harboring an illegal immigrant for prostitution, a federal agent said Thursday in U.S. District Court.

A search of a house in the 100 block of Azalea Street and other evidence are indicative of human trafficking and prostitution, a Homeland Security Investigations agent testified at the preliminary hearing of Moonseop Kim.

The federal case against Kim, 54, began with a Biloxi police investigation in which an undercover officer found a website advertising escort services in Biloxi and called to hire an escort for $300. Police arrested Kim and a 26-year-old woman on a prostitution charge after the woman showed up at a hotel on Cedar Lake Road in a car driven by Kim. Police questioned them and searched the car, and called in the HSI.

The young woman told police she had come to the hotel to have sex for money, and Kim said a sends him $300 to $500 a week to "drive the girls where they want to go," the agent testified.

Kim pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to conspiracy to commit prostitution in a hearing in Biloxi Municipal Court.

Kim told police he came to Biloxi from Atlantic City on Aug. 13, but he has no verifiable permanent address.

Kim had come to the United States on a visa, but it had expired.

Kim reportedly told authorities he didn't know who pays the rent for the Biloxi home or owns the red Saturn he used to drive women around. When investigators asked Kim where his wife is, he replied, "they tell me she is in Virginia," the agent said. It wasn't clear who "they" are.

Investigators believe the young woman was notified of her escort dates through "dispatches" coming from New York or New Jersey. She had been arrested on a prostitution charge in New York City in May.

The young woman is held on an immigration detainer, but has not been charged in connection with the case against Kim.

Kim also is held for immigration officials.

The home on Azalea is not set up like your average home, the agent said, and appears to have been used to house numerous people.

While the front was set up like a lobby with an office and a laptop computer, the bedrooms had twin mattresses on the floor with no bedding, plastic dressers, no decorative items and little or no personal items except for items such as condoms and false eyelashes.

Notes and posters taped above the washing machine, dryer and alarm system appeared to be operating instructions written in Korean.

Kim and the woman were believed to be the only people living there, but authorities said they found a man's clothing in a spare bedroom and a large number of eggs in the refrigerator, far more than two people could eat.

A search of the home also uncovered a credit-card machine and receipts in the amount of $300, the amount the escort service advertised for a date, the agent said.

A Korean interpreter translated all that was said in court, including the questioning of the HSI agent by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan and public defender John Weber.

Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker said he found probable cause to send the case against Kim to a grand jury.

Kim is held with no bond.

73-year-old prostitute picked up (again) by police in Yokohama

TOKYO (TR) – Kanagawa prefectural police earlier this month arrested a 73-year-old woman on prostitution charges, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 12).

At around 1 a.m. on October 12, Tamako Boku, 73, who is of Korean descent, was taken into custody by a plainclothes officer from the Isezakikei Police Station for offering sexual services in the streets of the love hotel area of Sueyoshicho in Yokohama’s Naka Ward — a violation of the Anti-Prostitution Law regarding solicitation.

“My living expenses are too high,” the suspect reportedly told police in admitting to the allegations.

According to investigators, Boku looks younger than her actual age, appearing to be around 50. “Up until now, she is the oldest person (brought up on these charges) that we are aware of,” said an investigative source.

The suspect was picked up on similar charges six years ago, when she was 67 years old.

“She does herself up to look young,” says an officer, adding that she sports golden hair, a coat, and high heels. “In the dark, her customers probably can’t determine her real age.”

Kanagawa prefectural police said that the suspect typically serves three to four customers each week, charging 15,000 yen (including hotel fees) per session. In an average month, she collects 150,000 yen in income.

“I used to work as a hostess,” the suspect is quoted by Nikkan Sports (Oct. 13). “But as my age increased there were no shops that would hire me so I started working in prostitution.”

Undercover sting leads to bust of brazen Midtown hooker operation

Last Updated: 5:03 PM, October 22, 2012
Posted: 9:38 AM, October 22, 2012
Cops broke up a Manhattan prostitution operation that brazenly catered to Johns with a fetish for Asian women, court documents revealed today.

Fort Greene resident William Thomas, 42, was arrested and charged with promoting prostitution when he met with an overcover cop, and hooked him up with working ladies at 238 E. 50th Street, according to a Manhattan DA criminal complaint.

The bust happened on Oct. 11.Thomas posted $10,000 bail and was released on Oct. 13.

Busted: String of Manhattan brothels offering the 'girlfriend experience' for customers with Asian fetish

By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 14:50 EST, 22 October 2012
A prostitution ring catering to men with a fetish for Asian women has been taken down by police and it's ringleader busted.

William Thomas, 42, from Brooklyn, New York, was arrested and charged with promoting prostitution after an undercover cops posed as a customer who wanted to have sex with an Asian woman.

He connected with Thomas on websites www.E4AKorea.com and www.E4ANYC.com. The 42-year-old was arrested on October 11 and posted $10,000 bail two days later.

On the websites, which have since been taken down, pictures of half-naked Asian women promising 'Your Midtown Korean experience' and the 'girlfriend experience' for up to $300 an hour were advertised.

'GFE's do multipop on an hour rate basis,' the websites detail, indicating the hooker would have sex multiple times.

The undercover officer kept in touch with Thomas by email and text and 'became a member of the E4AKorea private men’s club', prosecutors said in court.

Thomas allegedly operated brothels in the Financial District, East 50th Street, West 36th Street and East 58th Street, according to the New York Post.

The undercover cop went to one of the brothels and met a Korean woman who introduced herself as 'Olivia' and told him he could kiss her but had to wear a condom during sex.

The complaint said: 'The undercover officer asked for a Japanese girl, and [Rei Spain] said the Japanese girls don’t do full service, only massage and "happy ending" for $100 plus $40 tip.'

Two women, Jung Lee, 28, of Queens, and Rei Spain, 38, of Long Island, were also arrested for prostitution and promoting prostitution.

Lee is being held at Riker's Island and Spain was released without bail

Thomas’ services also included overseas travel, but this probe only targeted Manhattan operations, according to the Manhattan DA.

Brothel bust: NYPD arrests man who allegedly ran brothels in Wall Street, Midtown neighborhoods

(CBS) NEW YORK - A Brooklyn man was arrested for allegedly running brothels in Manhattan's Wall Street and Midtown neighborhoods, reports CBS New York.

Prosecutors say William Thomas, 42, allegedly advertised the prostitutes' services on websites e4anyc.com, which has been taken down, and e4akorea.com (site NSFW).

E4akorea.com calls itself "Your Midtown Korean Experience," and advertises "whipped cream week" along with pictures of a number of scantily clad or topless women posing suggestively.

Next to some of the images are offers of a "$260 GFE," which is short for "girlfriend experience." CBS New York reports that the rates ran $200-$300 per hour for an encounter with the girls. A number of women on the site had links to online reviews by other customers.

According to the criminal complaint, an undercover officer "arranged with Thomas for a session with one of the women advertised on the websites."

"When the [undercover officer] inquired what was meant in the website by GFE, the girlfriend experience, [Thomas] replied that no condom was needed," according to the complaint.

The alleged brothels were located on East 50th Street, East 58th Street, West 36th Street and Maiden Lane, prosecutors said.

The New York Daily News reports that Thomas was arrested and charged on October 11, and released on a $10,000 cash bond.

Korean prostitution in the US is out of control

By Noyeol Kim | The Korea Times
Translated by Heesook Choi
South Korean lawmakers are concerned about the number of Korean women who have come to the United States to work as prostitutes since the Korea-US Visa Waiver Program began in 2008.

In the past five years, hundreds of Korean prostitutes have been arrested in the Mid-Atlantic states of the U.S., including New York, and lawmakers are urging the Korean government to come up with solutions.

Since 2007, more than 200 Koreans have been caught for their involvement in the sex trade on the east coast, according to data released on Sept. 19 by Rep. Sun-young Park of the Liberty Forward Party in Korea. The illegal massage parlors and spas where prostitutes provided sexual services were mainly found in New York, New Jersey and Virginia

“As Koreans can enter the United States more easily than ever with the visa waiver program from 2008, the number of Koreans involved in the sex trade in the U.S. has rapidly increased,” Rep. Park said. “Government-level effort is urgently needed.”

Recently, the FBI apprehended a woman, who had entered the country to work as a nurse, and charged her with procuring prostitutes for clients in New York City. She is now behind bars. According to the Korean Consulate General in New York, the woman is also suspected of human trafficking. Some prostitutes hired by the woman filed a complaint against her for not paying them a salary.

The trend extends to the west coast as well. Not long ago, four Korean women in California were arrested for selling sex after opening a massage parlor. In Alaska, a Korean couple was caught operating a brothel exclusively for senior citizens.

Prostitution from Patriarchy

The reason why Korean sex parlors continue to pop up all over America (in every state, but mostly in the major population centers — one former pimp told researchers there were 10,000 sex trafficked Korean women in Los Angeles alone) has a lot to do with why prostitution is so prevalent in South Korea.

South Korea does not fit the typical role as a source of sex trafficked people because it is an economically developed country. There is no lack of wealth in the nation as a whole.

However, Lim’s study of Korean sex trafficking victims in the U.S. and a Namseoul University study on prostitution in South Korea suggest that lack of economic opportunity for women plays the major role in driving women to make risky decisions like being smuggled into America or willingly engaging in prostitution at home. Personal debt explains why women have been enslaved in many cases.

The Namseoul University study reported that in 2007 the majority (54 per cent) of female prostitutes in South Korea were from what they called middle class families. Thirty per cent were from poor families and 16 per cent were from wealthy families. Ten per cent said they entered the business because they couldn’t find another job. Twenty eight per cent said they needed to pay off debt, and 27 per cent said they just wanted to earn money.

Prof. Lim’s study indicated debt wasn’t the primary reason for going to America but the suggestion is that a lack of economic opportunities is central to the continuing prevalence of prostitution involving Korean women in both countries.

The lack of opportunity is simply explained by gender inequality. Women in Korea tend to be unable to get high paying jobs even after they go to university, unless they speak really good English. It also helps to be beautiful (and given the uniform standard of beauty that doesn’t necessarily conform to natural Korean physical traits, this accounts for the massive amount of plastic surgery in the country). Further, it is undeniable that most Korean women haven’t exactly gone out of their way to break through gender stereotypes and shatter the economic ceiling.

That glass ceiling is thick. The latest data from the OECD has it that the gender-income gap in South Korea was a whopping 38.9 per cent in 2009 – the largest among the 27 member countries at the top of the world’s economy. The second highest, yet still ten per cent lower, is Japan at 28.3 per cent (no surprise the two East Asian countries are the leaders here).

Korean women enjoy the constitutional rights of women in other OECD member nations. What keeps this gap so strikingly vast is the social pressure from parents and peers to conform to gender roles.

Korean lured compatriots to PH for sex, charged P75K per ‘escort’

By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will deport a South Korean national who allegedly headed a prostitution ring in Manila that catered to his compatriots coming over from their country, Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said Thursday.

David said Park Jun Youn, 44, was arrested on April 18 at his rented apartment on Debron Street, Makati City, by members of the BI’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU).

“He should be deported for taking advantage of Filipino women whom he exploited and lured to have sex with Korean men,” David said in a statement.

Park was arrested based on a summary deportation order issued by the bureau’s board of commissioners against him for being an undesirable alien.

The Immigration Act expressly authorizes the commissioner to order the arrest of an alien who gets involved in prostitution or manages a prostitution house, David said.

Lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, acting bureau intelligence chief, said the Cheongju district court in South Korea last year issued an arrest warrant for Park after he was charged with violating local antisexual trafficking and brokering laws.

South Korean authorities accused him of enticing scores of South Korean men to travel to Manila between March 2007 and March 2008 to have sex with Filipino women through his “escort service” business.

Park allegedly charged each Korean man a fee of P75,000 to avail himself of an “escort.”

Mangrobang said Park managed to obtain a permanent visa from the bureau in 2010 but this was canceled after it was learned that he was a wanted man in his country.

“A permanent visa does not confer on a foreigner the absolute right to stay in the Philippines. It is only a privilege that can be withdrawn if the foreigner’s presence here is inimical to the national interest,” Mangrobang said.

7 women charged after prostitution sting at Houston-area massage parlors

HOUSTON -- Charges have been filed against seven women arrested in a prostitution sting at three Houston-area massage parlors Thursday afternoon.

All three parlors were operating in a shopping center in the 900 block of FM 1960.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Precinct 4 and the Harris County Fire Marshall’s Office conducted the operation after receiving complaints from concerned citizens.

KHOU 11 News was there as the women were led out of the businesses in handcuffs.

Arrested were Kwum Hwa Bae, Zhen Mei Cui, Myong Cha Chang, Miyoung Lee, Hyeyeon Hur, Sun Hee Park and Mi Young Lee.

Bae, Cui, Miyoung Lee, Park and Mi Young Lee were all charged with prostitution.

Chang and Hur were charged with operating a massage parlor without a license.
The women were being held Friday in the Harris County Jail.

Deputies: Spa Employees Arrested For Prostitution

POSTED: 2:47 pm EST November 7, 2011
ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. -- Two spa employees in Anderson County were arrested after they attempted to solicit themselves to undercover officers, according to deputies.

An investigation began after receiving several complaints about illegal activities occurring at the businesses, deputies said.

Myoung Hee Tucker, 54, an employee of Bella Spa in Anderson is charged with prostitution.

Xiang En Jin, 42, an employee of Spring Sauna Spa is also charged with prostitution.

Both women were transported to Anderson County Detention Center.

2 Spa Employees Charged with Prostitution

Villa Park, Ill. - Two employees of a west suburban spa were arrested this week after police alleged they performed sexual acts with customers -- including an undercover police officer.

On Tuesday, Villa Park police arrested two employees of the Alma Natural Spa at 100 E. Roosevelt Rd., a release from police said. Police received information that led them to believe acts of prostitution were occurring at the business, the release said.

Investigators sent an undercover officer into the business on Tuesday to receive a massage. During the massage session, the massage therapist allegedly offered and attempted a sexual act with the undercover officer, according to police. The therapist, identified as Kyong Hui Campbell, 54, was arrested for attempting an act of prostitution.

At the time of the arrest, investigators noticed another customer in a separate room was also receiving a massage by another therapist. Upon further investigation it was learned that an act of prostitution was attempted during this massage session as well. The second therapist, identified as Bog Soon Lee, 49, was also arrested for attempting an act of prostitution.

Both Campbell, of Aurora; and Lee, from Addison, were charged with one count of prostitution, a class A misdemeanor.

Spa employee charged with prostitution

02/28/2012, 7:18 pm
A woman working at a massage parlor on Ottawa's North Side was charged with prostitution Monday.

Kyong Mi Kim, 51, 101 Grove St., Sewickley, Pa., was arrested at 2:47 p.m. at Spa Rx, 2860 Columbus St. Kim was taken to the Ottawa police station where she posted $150 cash bond and was released. Kim is set for a court hearing Monday, April 16. The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, probation or jail.

Kim's license to perform massage therapy in Illinois was issued by the state in 2005 and expires Dec. 31. A woman with the same name, city of address and approximate age, was arrested in 1999 in Pennsylvania on complaints of prostitution and conspiracy.

Spa Rx opened June 7. The owner, Sun Chong, described the business — in her application to the city for a massage therapy permit — as a Korean therapeutic massage parlor. The establishment contains bathrooms, showers, sauna rooms and massage rooms. The lobby was open to the public, but a bell had to be rung to gain entrance to the rest of the business through a door that could only be opened from the inside; there was no outer doorknob, a reporter with The Times observed when trying to reach the owner for a previous new business story. The owner never responded to inquiries from The Times for a story.

The spa's hours of business were advertised as 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Ottawa Detective Sgt. Dave Gualandri explained police received a number of complaints from citizens about the business and a month ago took action by sending detectives undercover to the spa, at first to see how the business operated and to become familiar to the women working there. Another detective from the Livingston County Sheriff's Office helped, because he would be even less likely to be recognized as an officer. Surveillance of the spa was also conducted.

Eventually on Monday, a detective negotiated a price with Kim for a sex act, Gualandri said. The detective left without an act taking place. Other officers waiting outside then entered the business and took Kim into custody. Besides Kim, there was another employee present who was not arrested. There were no customers.

Soon after Kim's arrest, City Building and Zoning Official Mike Sutfin removed the business' occupancy permit, because the door leading from the lobby to the back rooms could only be opened from the inside. The spa operators were previously warned to correct this, but had not done so.

Mayor Robert Eschbach also suspended the establishment's massage therapy license, pending revocation, because of the prostitution arrest. Sutfin said a letter was hand delivered to the owner telling her she has until March 13 to request a hearing, at which she can argue against the revocation.

The last time a prostitution arrest occurred in Ottawa was possibly the mid-1990s.

South Korea: The stimulus plan, sexism, and sex trafficking

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2011—The San Francisco Chronicle reported the story of You Mi Kim, a woman from South Korea forced into prostitution in the United States to pay off her $40,000 credit card debt. To pay off her heavy debt, she worked in a massage parlor that was actually a brothel, serving dozens of men in downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Since the Chronicle broke the story, US authorities have focused on prostitution at local massage parlors, but have failed to address the root causes behind the proliferation of sex trafficking of South Korean women.

South Korea is one of the major countries where sex trafficking victims in the U.S. originate. According to the US Attorney General in 2006, South Koreans accounted the highest population (24%) of sex trafficking victims in the U.S. followed by Thailand (11.7%), and Peru (10%),. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons report categorized South Korea as a Tier 1 country in the same year.

American authorities are well aware of the problem of South Korean women trafficked to the U.S. and other developed countries. The Trafficking in Persons report in 2011 noted the problem and recommended South Korea to implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.

Despite the anti-human trafficking efforts in both South Korea and the U.S., sex trafficking of South Korean women continues to proliferate. Earlier this month, South Korean news reported that more than 200 South Korean women were trafficked to work in the sex trade to the U.S. over the past five years.

After the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s, the South Korean government implemented an economic stimulus program to boost domestic economy. The program allowed many South Koreans to borrow and spend regardless of their credit scores. This allows anyone to sign up for a credit card and spend without limits.

The resulting South Korean debt collection laws and the aforementioned stimulus plan both contribute to South Korean women being forced into sex trade around the world.

Unlike most other countries, credit card users in South Korea have no option to pay off their debt over months or even years. Instead, they must pay off the full balance in 30 days, which makes it easy for borrowers “paying 25% plus annual interest rates to fall behind.”

It is not uncommon for lenders to take possession or even repossess borrowers homes to pay their debts.

When a poor woman like You Mi Kim, becomes delinquent, she often turns to private lenders for quick cash. Many of those private lenders are connected to organized crime involved in human trafficking and prostitution, making a naïve college woman like You Mi Kim vulnerable to sex slavery.

Though the Korean debt collection law prohibits collection of debt using threats or violence, it is rarely enforced. In 2009, a young college woman was forced into prostitution after she failed to pay back $2,500 to a loan shark. When she couldn’t afford to pay her college tuition, she turned to the loan shark for the money to continue with her education.

When her father later found out, he attempted to cancel the loan and, when he failed, killed himself and his daughter.

Even when the law is enforced, legislative loopholes still make young women vulnerable. In March 2011, police arrested a woman who trafficked over 70 South Korean females for prostitution in Tokyo, Japan. Traffickers recruit the women, all heavily indebted, through loan sharks.

In order to pay off the debts, traffickers offer victims jobs at massage parlors in Japan. Upon arrival in Tokyo, however, the victims were locked up and forced into prostitution under debt-bondage while the trafficker profited approximately $304,000 a month.

Dr. Timothy Lim of California State University also blames South Korean sex trafficking on discrimination against women in the South Korean labor market. Women rarely have opportunities to make “high wages to pay off an accumulated debt.”

International authorities agree with Dr. Lim; the OECD stated that the wage gap between men and women in South Korea was more than 30%, the largest wage difference between genders among the member countries in 2010. What’s more, women are more likely to work in low paid positions and have fewer chances of promotion than men.

In South Korea, many women attend college to meet an eligible husband, rather than pursue their own dreams. Sex work is “one of the few viable alternatives for earning higher wages” for many, according to Dr. Lim.

While only about 5% of the Korean population use private lenders or loan sharks, they account for approximately 85% of the South Koreans who are in serious debt, and the majority of South Korean women trafficked around the world belong to this group.

If anti-human trafficking is an international priority, shouldn’t authorities feel the urgency to address the root causes that send so many young South Korean women into the trade?

Song Ja Cha found guilty on all counts

Posted: Feb 16, 2011 11:10 PM PST Feb 16, 2011 11:10 PM PST
by Mindy Aguon

Guam - A unanimous verdict from a federal jury in the Blue House sex trafficking case could put Song Ja Cha behind bars for life. Cha was convicted on 20 counts of conspiracy, sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, attempted sex trafficking, and coercion and enticement to travel for purpose of prostitution.

Cha stood between her defense attorney, Howard Trapp, and an interpreter as the verdict was read in the courtroom this morning. It took jurors less than two days to weigh the evidence and testimony presented in the case to make their unanimous decision.

U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI Alicia Limtiaco said, "We believe justice has been served for these victims as well as the entire community." She added, "We want to thank the victims who were extremely courageous and strong in coming forward and being a part of this trial it took a lot of them to do this."

It was their testimony that convinced the jury that Cha was well aware of what was happening inside the Blue House Lounge. Despite Cha's testimony that she was unaware of any sex for money occurring in her establishment, various women testified how they were brought to Guam from Chuuk thinking they would be working at a store or restaurant. Instead they testified that they were forced to perform sexual acts with customers in exchange for money and were told they could not leave until they paid off their debt with Cha.

Limtiaco says the prosecution and the verdict should serve as a warning for massage parlors and other establishments engaged in prostitution. "Again, this is all a message to individuals, organizations and businesses that conduct these illegal activities and exploit women, men and children in prostitution, in any form of sexual exploitation," said Limtiaco.

While jurors may have been relieved of their duties from the case, District Court Judge Dean Pregerson set another bench trial for May 11 as Federal Prosecutor Jared Fishman indicated the government's plans to pursue forfeiture of money that was confiscated when police first responded to the club.

Limtiaco continued, "There is a certain amount of currency that's been associated with the activities involving the sex trafficking and the prostitution and that bench trial will speak to what is the evidence that associates that amount of currency with this case."

Because she faces significant time in prison, Fishman asked the judge that the defendant be remanded to custody pending her sentencing which is scheduled for May 18. The request was granted.

The feds meanwhile still have some investigating to do, following the testimony of Police Officer David Q. Manila, who admitted to paying $40 for sex at the Blue House. Limtiaco confirms they are looking into his testimony and allegations that other police officers engaged in similar conduct. "We will be reviewing the entire set of circumstances with regard to any police officers that may have been involved," Limtiaco confirmed.

Police Chief Nominee Captain Fred Bordallo says he has no tolerance for his officers being involved in any illegal activity, telling KUAM News, "That automatically is being investigated right now and under Internal Affairs investigation; in terms of the potential of criminal investigations right now we are still having the guidance, using the guidance of the Office of the Attorney General."

Trapp meanwhile tells KUAM News that he intends to ask for a new trial, and if that is denied, he will file an appeal.

U.S. Attorney Limtiaco meanwhile also thanked non-profit organizations, including the Alee Shelter and Guam Esperansa saying they were critical in providing support to the women who were forced into prostitution at the Blue House Lounge.

"Prostitution Broker" convicted for international sex trafficking

November 10, 2011
Min Su Cho was convicted yesterday in New York City by a federal jury for her participation in an international sex trafficking conspiracy, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
After a one-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, Cho was found guilty of conspiring with others to induce or entice women to travel across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, and for personally transporting individuals across state lines for the same purpose. The 32-year old Cho is the last of 17 defendants to be convicted as part of this wide-ranging, international conspiracy.

Two other suspects charged in the conspiracy case remain fugitives.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “The conviction of Min Su Cho closes a chapter in the prosecution of those responsible for a vast, international sex trafficking ring that exploited countless women. This guilty verdict also sends a clear message to others engaging in similar conduct that they will be punished.”

According to indictment and the evidence presented at trial, a network of brothels in the Koreatown section of Manhattan masqueraded as massage parlors, used various brokers and taxi drivers to provide a steady supply of women to engage in prostitution.

Cho was a broker who supplied prostitutes from New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Korea to these brothels, which were operated by other defendants in the case. Brokers like Cho received anywhere from $200 to $500 each from both the brothel owners and the prostitutes for facilitating connections between them.

Cho faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and she is scheduled for sentencing on December 15, 2011.

Fifteen other defendants previously pled guilty to their involvement in the scheme, including various brothel owners, taxi drivers, and brokers. One of those 15 defendants and an additional 16th defendant in this case also pled guilty to narcotics distribution charges.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the New York Asian Organized Crime Task Force, which is comprised of members from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department.

Malden Manor Karaoke bar 'offered sex services' police report claims

7:00am Friday 28th October 2011
A Korean karaoke bar dropped a bid for longer opening hours as police were preparing to present documentation claiming sex acts were being performed on customers.

The owner of Imperial Karaoke in Malden Manor has consistently rejected claims his bar has been used for sexual services, blaming the allegations on cultural misunderstandings.

Speaking through a translator, owner Sung Chul Lim said: "Police have no evidence. At the last hearing, my solicitor talked to police about that.

"It is so unfair."

The police report claimed intelligence showed the bar was being used to provide sexual services on June 17 this year.

Officers claimed they found women with no permission to work in the UK inside the bar during another visit on August 5.

The women were performing sex acts on customers, it was claimed.

The claims came to light after the bar applied for longer opening hours on October 31 and November 1, but withdrew its bid due to technical considerations.

The report was shown to a meeting of Kingston Council’s licensing committee on Tuesday morning when the bid was withdrawn.

Mr Lim is the licence holder since the controversial bar – also known as Forest and Ocean, and Bar Bimumba – opened in November 2007.

Steve Price, who now manages the bar and another in Staines for Mr Lim, said there was no evidence for the intelligence which he said was based on nothing more than phone calls or letters.

He denied the bar was offering sexual services as the documents to the hearing had alleged.

He said: "They shouldn’t have been brought up as part of that review.

"It is so unfair that influences from other places make it seem worse than it is."

Mr Price said the women found in the bar, alleged to be illegal workers, were actually friends of guests.

Commenting on Mr Lim’s driving offences which were also part of the police's case, translator Jaing Cui said: "They shouldn’t have brought Mr Lim’s personal stuff into this public hearing."

Sergeant Eddie Armstrong, Kingston’s licensing officer, said: “Sitting in one of the small karaoke rooms were four women. These women were spoken to by police through a police interpreter.

“Police carried out immigration checks on these women and none had a legal right to work in the UK.”

The incidents have happened since tough new licensing conditions were put in place earlier this year following an alleged assault outside which left a waiter at the bar with life-threatening head injuries.

  • Sung Kuk Mun, 34, is due to stand trial at Kingston Crown Court next February after denying causing grievous bodily harm to waiter Hun Kyu Lee outside the bar on April 17.

The owner of the karaoke bar has been threatened with closure by police several times.

North Korean Sung Chul Lim, 54, was handed a drink-driving conviction in December 2006 but kept driving while disqualified leading to another conviction in July 2007, licensing hearing documents said.

He was served a "brothel warning" notice by police in November 2008.

Closure notices were also served in June, 2009, and April 22, 2011, after licensing conditions were breached such as no working CCTV and the premises staying open up to an hour after its legal allowance.

At a licensing hearing held in May, following an alleged assault outside the bar, police said: “Mr Sung Chul Lim is an irresponsible licence holder with disregard for promoting the four licensing objectives.

“The police are requesting the licensing committee to take the view that Mr Lim has apparently totally ignored previous closures and advice given to him at police meetings.

"The police are also requesting that the committee is to take into consideration that Mr Lim is fully aware that his staff at Forest and Ocean are offering sexual services to its customers."

However councillors allowed the bar to reopen with stringent conditions.

The karaoke bar was told to employ a door supervisor from 8pm to 2am.

It was also ordered to install CCTV in each private room of the bar, which had to be kept for 31 days, recording 24 hours a day.

Mr Lim has previously denied that the karaoke bar and nearby massage parlour were providing sexual services, blaming cultural misunderstandings for the image.

He told the Surrey Comet in January: “It is not sexual services.

"We are definitely not what people think. Police came here to search and didn’t act."

An advert online explicitly stated in English the venue did not offer sexual services.

A 200-strong community petition opposed the massage parlour opening last March.

Opposition centred around concerns it was unsuitable with comings and goings until 4am or 5am and its close proximity to Richard Challoner, Malden Manor and Malden Parochial Church of England School.

The police have reported numerous incidents and complaints about the bar since it opened.

The full list of call-outs and allegations was laid bare at the hearing on Tuesday.

May 9, 2008: Allegation of GBH when the premises were closed
May 25, 2008: Criminal damage believed to be by a person connected to another restaurant
June 26, 2008: Police see a mattress/bed in the building
November 2008: Five intelligence reports made claiming the premises was being used as a brothel
May and June 2009: More intelligence reports alleging the premises to be a brothel
May 16, 2009: Police search venue for vulnerable children and find no CCTV leading to it being in breach of licensing conditions
30 July, 2009: Woman alleges she was forced to perform sex act. Later drops allegation
August 15, 2009 & November 24, 2009: Police called out to disturbances at venue
August 18, 2010: Police conduct licensing visit and a number of young women exit when officers arrive. Evidence of smoking inside venue
September 2010: More intelligence claims of brothel use, illegal immigrants and operating outside permitted hours
January and March 2011: Intelligence claims of lots of men attending the bar in the early hours of the morning
April 17, 2011: Man found outside the bar with life-threatening head injuries
April 17: During investigation police find CCTV which appears to show woman performing sex act.
April 22, 2011: Man arrested inside bar with possession of bank cards not in his name. Two people, one of them a waitress, arrested suspected of breaching immigration status. Bar closed
Another member of staff arrested on suspicion of theft
April 27, 2011: Intelligence that bar has been advertising in Korean newspaper as open until 2.30am, an hour after it was supposed to close.

It also claimed the venue was advertising sexual services in a Chinese newspaper * May 4, 2011: Intelligence that massage parlour was offering sexual services for between £40 and £50

SKorean sex workers rally against police crackdown

May 17, 2011
(AP) SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hundreds of prostitutes and pimps rallied Tuesday near a red-light district in Seoul to protest a police crackdown on brothels, with some unsuccessfully attempting to set themselves on fire.

A crowd of about 400 people, mostly women wearing baseball caps, masks and sunglasses, chanted slogans like, "Guarantee the right to live!" during the four-hour rally.

At one point, about 20 protesters in their underwear and covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid in an apparent attempt to burn themselves, but others stopped them from lighting any flames. Some of the women then sat in the street and wept and screamed, while other protesters consoled them.

Minor scuffles between protesters and police officers erupted after the rally, but there were no reports of major injuries.

Prostitution is illegal in South Korea but is widespread despite repeated government crackdowns.

The rally comes weeks after officials began stationing police cars near brothels in a bid to drive away people looking to pay for sex.

The sex workers accuse a nearby department store of pushing police to take such measures. Police deny the claim.

As part of their protest, a group of prostitutes on Sunday tried to buy expensive items at the department store with only coins; when they were rejected, they placed large piles of coins on the department store's floors.

Three get deferred sentences in 2009 Edmond massage parlor raid

BY SONYA COLBERG Published: October 29, 2011
The Bay Spa sign has been ripped down, the mirrored rooms are empty and three former massage parlor workers caught in a police raid received deferred sentences.

A stream of men going to and from the Bay Spa massage parlor in front of a bowling alley sparked the sting in July 2009 after police were tipped off by a contractor working in the area of 3431 S Boulevard, Suite 110.

The tipster asked one man why the spa attracted so much interest. The man said he could take a shower at the spa, pay $60 for a massage and get whatever he wanted afterward, police reports say. He said he got a sex act for $40.

Charged with maintaining a house of prostitution, Mi Kyung Lee, 46, pleaded guilty Monday. She paid $671 in fines and court costs Thursday and received a one-year deferred sentence, meaning the incident will be cleared from her records in a year if she meets all conditions. She was conducting business under the now inactive Golden Dragon LLC, state records show.

Hyun Kyung Lee, 39, pleaded no contest to prostitution and received a three-year deferred sentence, court records show.

Gallery: Semi-naked sex workers protest



ヘルプ / FAQ もご覧ください。