10 Accused In A Casino Loan Racket That Targeted Korean Immigrants

Posted: August 31, 1995

MAYS LANDING — Ten people, including two casino employees, were scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court yesterday in connection with their alleged involvement in a loan-sharking ring that operated in at least two Atlantic City casinos, authorities said.

The victims of the operation, some of whom law enforcement officials believe may be illegal Korean immigrants, were gamblers who were allegedly introduced to the loan sharks by the two Korean-speaking casino hosts.

Some of the victims were given immediate loans of $3,000 to $20,000 after turning over their cars or interests to their New York or Philadelphia businesses, according to New Jersey State Police Lt. Tom Janicky, who supervised the two-month investigation with the state Division of Gaming Enforcement that led to the arrests during the past week.

Janicky said the ring is believed to be the first of its kind that preyed upon a particular Asian group since casino gaming was established in the resort in 1976.

"We've seen loan-sharking operations in the past in Atlantic City among traditional organized-crime groups," Janicky said. "But this is the first one of its kind among an Asian group."

The ring had apparently been operating the "high-stakes loan-sharking network" in the resort for some time. Records, written in Korean, indicate that the activity had been taking place since 1983, Janicky said.

"Once we are able to have the information translated, we expect to be able to contact more victims of the operation that could help us with our investigation," said Janicky, who declined in indicate how many people may have been victimized by the group.

State police said they had obtained substantial evidence, including $20,600 in bank checks issued by victims, $50,000 in jewelry, $10,000 in cash, six automobiles worth more than $130,000, and various loan sharking and bank records.

A tip from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office led the DGE and the state police to investigate, Janicky said.

"Once we became familiar with the members of the group, we were able to convice our superiors that additional efforts had to be put forth to obtain the help of translators to work with us because there was a language barrier there," Janicky said.

With assistance from employees of the U.S. Customs Service, the investigators were able to make the proper translations that led to their obtaining evidence to make the arrests.

Scheduled for arraignment on charges of conspiracy and loan sharking yesterday were: Ki Bok Kim, 30, of Atlantic City and New York; Young Joo, 31, of Brigantine; Chung Woong Kang, 52, of Brigantine; Chong Min Sin, 48, of Elmhurst, N.Y.; Byung Soo Kim, 34, of Philadelphia; Hak Seo Chang, 47, of Atlantic City; Sun Cha Delucco, 48, of Atlantic City; Seo Boon Kang, 44, of Brigantine. All are being held in Atlantic County Jail.

The two casino employees who were charged with conspiracy and released on a summons were Jun Suck Choi, 37, of Absecon, an executive host at the Sands; and Janet Hwang Sigtermans, 43, of Mays Landing, who worked as a casino host at Resorts.

Both could face the suspension of their casino work licenses by the Casino Control Commission if convicted, according to DGE spokesman Jack Mozloom. Mozloom could not confirm that the arraignment has taken place.

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