City & County of Honolulu

Liquor inspector
stand-ins are hired

8 retired police officers will
serve on an interim basis

By Nelson Daranciang

Seven interim liquor investigators will begin training Monday, and an eighth will begin the following week to fill in for the investigators indicted on racketeering and extortion charges, said John Carroll, Honolulu Liquor Commission chief investigator.

All eight are retired Honolulu police officers who will be on 89-day contracts.

A federal indictment last week charged six investigators and two retired supervisors with extorting and accepting bribes from proprietors of liquor establishments in exchange for not enforcing liquor laws.

The trial is scheduled to begin July 23.

Samuel K.Y. Ho, 43, an investigator, pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court to racketeering and extortion charges. He is free on a $20,000 signature bond.

All others indicted in the case have been arraigned and have pleaded not guilty, except for Kenneth L. Wright, who has not turned himself in, according to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case.

The indictment came after a yearlong undercover investigation by the FBI and Honolulu Police Department.

A fellow investigator agreed to secretly tape conversations with his colleagues between October 2000 and September 2001.

The defendants targeted 45 liquor establishments on Oahu, most of them hostess bars, said U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo.

The payments ranged between $40 and $1,080 per visit, according to the indictment.

No one from the 45 liquor establishments has been charged. Kubo said the investigation is continuing.

Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.

City & County of Honolulu

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