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Local women face Federal immigration, money laundering and prostitution charges

By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service

February 24, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan announced today that a Federal grand jury indicted two women Feb. 16 on immigration, money laundering and prostitution charges for allegedly operating a San Francisco brothel.

Yon Suk Pang, 56, of San Francisco and Hyon Chu Yim, 45, of San Leandro face 74 Federal charges each, including eight counts of alien harboring for prostitution, another eight counts of alien harboring for commercial advantage or financial gain, and 58 charges of money laundering.

The two women allegedly operated a brothel known as Suk Hee Oriental Massage at 483 Broadway St. in San Francisco, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The sealed indictment was opened Thursday.

Yim was arrested Wednesday at her San Leandro home, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Pang was previously charged as a co-defendant with Young Joon Yang, 37, who is thought to be the central figure in a massive prostitution ring. Yang was charged with sex trafficking, which carries a possible life sentence.

In June 2005, federal agents raided 10 alleged brothels and massage parlors, removing 100 Korean women from locations in San Francisco and Emeryville. On July 1, federal prosecutors charged 29 people in connection with those raids.

According to the grand jury indictment, "it was part of the conspiracy that Pang and Yim employed alien females to work as prostitutes at Suk Hee.''

Pang is accused of paying brokers to deliver the females to her, then making those women work at Suk Hee to pay off the costs of the trafficking fees, according to the indictment.

"It was further part of the conspiracy that Pang and Yim housed alien female employees in a unit at 1046 Kearny St., San Francisco, which was adjacent to Suk Hee, and which the females reached by climbing through a window from Suk Hee,'' the indictment states. Pang and Yim allegedly collected payments for that housing, keeping the women's passports from them until they were out of debt.

Yim and Pang are the latest suspects to be charged as part of an ongoing Federal investigation known as Gilded Cage, being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the San Francisco Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The charges against Pang and Yim carry prison sentences of five to 20 years each, as well as fines, but Macaulay said it is too early to predict what kind of punishment the two women will ultimately face if convicted.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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