Sunday, February 8, 2004

A woman looks up from the parking lot of a Kapiolani Boulevard building where, on Aug. 3, In Song Kim was attacked by a rival faction that provides protection for illegal gambling rooms. Court records show that Kim, known on the street as "Pae Ho," has had a long career with gangs and illegal gambling.

Man’s gambling ties
go far back

In Song Kim allegedly once
led a Korean youth gang
that was linked to a crime spree

At the age of 21, In Song Kim, known on the street as "Pae Ho," was the target of an investigation into Korean street gangs believed to be behind a wave of robberies, including the armed holdup of worshippers in a Korean temple.

Kim, now 43, recently testified in an assault case involving rival factions who provide protection for illegal gambling rooms that police believe are linked to the Jan. 7 shootings on the Pali Golf Course.

Court records indicate that Kim, who has been in and out of jail, has had a long career with gangs and illegal gambling.

According to criminal records, Kim has been convicted of three felonies, including murder conspiracy, assault and robbery. He has violated federal parole at least twice and is in federal custody for violating his supervised release by associating with felons and illegal gambling operations.

In 1983, Kim was indicted for his role as the alleged leader of a large Korean youth gang that prosecutors said was responsible for various assaults and 139 burglaries from Kaimuki to Pearl City. Community leaders at the time said Kim's gang included more than 100 Korean youths, mostly new immigrants to Hawaii.

Kim was indicted after an extensive investigation by the Honolulu prosecutor's office, Honolulu police and Los Angeles police.

At the time of Kim's indictment, then-prosecutor Charles Marsland, who had just formed an organized-crime strike force, said their investigation had broken up "a growing organized crime faction" that has "terrorized the Korean community." Police sources at the time said the group was a youth gang, not organized crime.

Prosecutors said Kim's gang, which at one point referred to themselves as "The Eagles," used pipe wrenches in their break-ins and often targeted apartments of bar hostesses who kept cash and jewelry in their homes.

Kim was also indicted for murder conspiracy in the March 1981 stabbing of a Waikiki hotel desk clerk that was part of an extortion scheme and the February 1981 armed robbery of the Dae Won Sa Korean Temple in Palolo Valley.

In a plea agreement, Kim pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder and robbery. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but was freed early on supervised release.

In a recent federal probation report, Kim told police and probation officers of his involvement with illegal gambling. His talks, outlined in his probation report, led to his current imprisonment.

Kim's attorney, Reginald Minn, said Friday that there are inaccuracies in the probation report. In particular, Minn said, the report's account of two alleged rival game room operators -- Kaiming Wang, known as "Ah Fook," and Yunguang Zhang, or "Ah Fong" -- is wrong.

In late 2002 or early 2003, Kim allegedly told police that "various Korean factions who were involved in the operation of illegal gambling establishments were attempting a hostile takeover" of an illegal gambling room on the second floor of 1687 Kapiolani Blvd., next to the Imperial Palace massage parlor.

The probation report notes that on June 2, 2003, the police raided the game at 1687 Kapiolani Blvd. and found "felt-covered tables used for baccarat card games, electronic gaming machines and surveillance television monitors."

Kim told police that Wang secured a sublease for the space with the help of a man named Chong Han Yi, known on the street as "Korean Eddie." Kim told police that Zhang threatened to shut down or take over the second-floor operation.

Zhang, 41, was indicted for gambling and money laundering in May 2000 as part of a three-year investigation by state and federal law enforcement. Their raids on seven locations led to the indictments of 32 people on federal gambling and money-laundering charges.

During the investigation, Detective Earl Koanui posed as a corrupt police officer taking bribes from game rooms in exchange for tips on possible police raids.

Zhang was indicted for money laundering and operating "a casino-style operation which offered card games, primarily baccarat" and electronic video gambling. Zhang, who pleaded guilty to the charges, had games in Pearl City and at 808 Sheridan St. in Honolulu. He was also indicted for holding cockfights and card games at Ulehawa Road in Waianae.

Zhang and two others were charged for making 33 cash payments totaling $46,800 to Koanui for protection. The indictment also said Zhang paid for protection to prevent "disruptions from competitors."

Zhang is awaiting sentencing.

According to Kim's probation report, he allegedly told police that factions led by Zhang and Chang Jin Kim were "angry at him."

The report said the probation officers learned from law enforcement that Kim was "severely beaten by members of a Korean faction and was hospitalized with two broken legs." The report said he was attacked in the parking lot of 1687 Kapiolani Blvd., his van was damaged and that the suspects in the beating were "affiliated with the Ah Fong (Zhang) faction."


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