Two New York cops were busted for taking bribes from a Korean-run brothel in Flushing in return for protection and shutting down competing brothels. From the New York Times:
It is one of the oldest forms of police corruption: taking money to look the other way.
And that is what two veteran police officers were doing in Flushing, Queens, federal authorities said yesterday. They looked the other way, the officials said, while a brothel took in more than $1 million a year from customers who streamed in from shiny late-model cars double-parked outside.
Inside the stucco and brick building, across the street from a cemetery, 16 women, many of whom officials believe paid thousands to come to the United States from South Korea and China, worked as prostitutes behind windows obscured by pink or maroon satin fabric. But the two officers did not take much money: one accepted just several hundred dollars, the other the discounted services of the house, according to court papers.
And they did more than just look away. Prosecutors charge that they helped shut down the brothel’s competitors, essentially using the information they had gleaned in their illicit relationship with one criminal enterprise to burnish their reputations as policemen by working to shut down others.
The arrested were police officers Dennis Kim, 29, and Jerry Svoronos, 30; the woman and man accused of running the brothel, Gina Kim and Geeho Chae, both 37; and 16 young women who are believed to have worked as prostitutes. The brothel was apparently well known in Flushing, and apparently did a roaring trade:
The arrests and the raid in a quiet residential section of Flushing opened a window to what some called a thriving community of brothels in the largely Chinese and South Korean community. One man who said he was a client of the shuttered establishment said that the existence of brothels was well known in the area, and that each has its own practices, regulations and pricing systems, like charging more for customers who come from South Korea than those who come from China.
It is a lucrative trade, according to an affidavit supporting the arrest warrants sworn out by F.B.I. Special Agent Won Yoon. In a secretly recorded conversation, Ms. Kim told the undercover detective that, on the day the brothel opened on May 18, 2005, she had 20 customers each paying $200, earning $4,000 that single day. The brothel’s first location was at 43-53 162nd Street, and later moved to 164th Street, the affidavit said.
200 dollars a trick? Damn. Considerably more lucrative than peddling 60,000 won handjobs. I guess the streets really are paved with gold in America. But service fees apparently depended on nationality. And no round-eyes of any pigmentation allowed:
Along 162nd Street, the man who identified himself as a former client of the brothel said that the Korean system of prostitution in New York City was tightly managed. In a Korean brothel, the man, 28, said, only Korean and Chinese men were allowed in. He said that when he patronized the brothel at 53-43 162nd Street two years ago, there were two prices in place, for some unexplained reason: $150 for Chinese patrons, and $200 for Koreans.
150 bucks for Chinese but 200 for Koreans? Laying the sadaejueui on a little thick, no?
Anyway, according to the New York Daily News, Officer Kim said he never took bribes from Kim and Chae. Instead, he claims he used the couple as informants and arranged free services for his partner in crime, Officer Svoronos:
Yoon secretly recorded Dennis Kim bragging about using Chae as an “unregistered confidential informant,” saying the crime tips would to help land him a promotion.
“I wanted to be the No. 1 cop because I wasn’t making sergeant,” Officer Kim was recording saying. “You know, I wasn’t smart enough.”
He said he arranged freebies for Svoronos at the brothel, but never took a bribe.
But Chae and Gina Kim, both 37 and immigrants from Korea, told investigators they gave Officer Kim cash and that both he and Svoronos had romps on the house.
Read the Korean account via KBS.