SEATTLE – The owner of a Korean nightclub in Federal Way and seven others have been indicted for allegedly operating an interstate prostitution scheme involving Asian women, then trying to bribe police to keep the operation safe.
The U.S. Attorney’s office has charged The Blue Moon owner Chang Young Kim, 58, of Milton, his wife Yeun Jeong Mun, 35, and six other current or former employees of conspiracy to commit money laundering, visa fraud, harboring illegal aliens and transportation in furtherance of prostitution.
Kim also faces five counts of bribery after allegedly paying $15,000 to an undercover officer in the case. In exchange, prosecutors say he wanted advance notice of any police inspections at the club and cooperation from immigration authorities to allow the undocumented Korean women to enter the country.
"The organizers of this criminal scheme exploited vulnerable young women to satisfy their greed," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "They also sought to protect their business by offering bribes to law enforcement."
Prosecutors said the suspects sought out Korean females to work at the club, which is described as a Korean "room salon," located at 31140 Pacific Highway South. Many of the women were allegedly recruited overseas and worked as “hostesses” to pay off their travel and living expenses. The women were expected to entertain male clients and set up meetings to have sex for money.
Immigration and Customs investigators said they are checking to see if some of the “hostesses” were transported to Korean nightclubs outside the state.
"Criminal ventures like this degrade the quality of life in our neighborhoods, as well as the women involved," said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle.
Homeland Security investigators served search warrants Thursday at The Blue Moon and several residences in the area. Six of the suspects were arrested Thursday. Two others are at large.
- Chang Young Kim, 58, of Milton, owner of The Blue Moon.
- Yeun Jeong Mun, 35. Kim’s wife who allegedly served as a former madam at The Blue Moon.
- Miyoung Roberts, 40, of Federal Way. She allegedly serves as the current madam at The Blue Moon.
- Jung San So, 55, of Seattle, manager of The Blue Moon.
- Raymond Jung, 51, of Federal Way, allegedly leased apartments where hostesses were allegedly housed.
- Kwang Frank Lee, 57, of Federal Way, allegedly provided money to finance a fraudulent marriage tied to the scheme.
- Sung Hee Han, 40, of Federal Way, allegedly works as an assistant madam at The Blue Moon.
- Hee Jae Cho, 40, of Federal Way, former manager of the Blue Moon who also allegedly provided transportation for the hostesses. Investigators believe Cho may be in the Los Angeles area. Anyone with information regarding Cho's whereabouts is asked to contact ICE's tip line at (866) 347-2423.
Investigators learned of the sex trafficking allegations in 2009 after getting a tip from Seattle Police who were investigating an unrelated embezzlement case.
The investigation that led to the arrests was assisted by the FBI, IRS, Border Patrol and the Washington State Liquor Control Board.