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Press Release | NO. 2004-121

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Press Release # 121
Friday, November 12, 2004

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, David N. Kelley, The United States Attorney For The Southern District Of New York, Pasquale D'amuro, The Assistant Director In Charge Of The New York Office Of The Fbi And Assistant Secretary Michael J. Garcia , U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement, Announce 28 Arrests In The Takedown Of An Asian Organized Crime Operation

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, David N. Kelley, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Pasquale D'Amuro, the Assistant Director of the New York Office of the FBI and Assistant Secretary Michael J. Garcia, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, today announced 28 arrests as part of the takedown of a criminal organization involved in attempted murder, loan sharking, alien smuggling, prostitution, narcotics distribution, extortion and gambling. The arrests include members of two Asian criminal enterprises operating in Manhattan's Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. Twelve of these gang members are charged with criminal racketeering.

Police Commissioner Kelly said: "These individuals exploited their fellow immigrants and ignored the laws of their adoptive home. Thanks to a collaborative effort, these criminals are now under arrest. I congratulate
the officers from the Department and the members of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their excellent work on this case."

The case began in April 2004 when investigators identified the leaders of two distinct gangs operating in Chinatown and Flushing. Wong Shao Feng, also know as Yi Fen, is the leader of the Chinatown group and Lim Shang, also known as Lo Ban, is the leader of the Queens-based American Eagles gang. These two men have known each other since childhood in China and share mutual interest in criminal activities. Their criminal enterprises sent an estimated $20 million in illicit profits back to mainland China.

The primary business of the two groups is gambling. They operate various gambling parlors featuring traditional Chinese games such as Mah Jong and Pai Gow. The locations were also used as a base of operations for loan-sharking. The groups also used violence to extort money from gambling parlors not under their direct control and intimidate those who owed them money. The Joint Organized Crime Task Force served four Federal search warrants overnight on Wednesday at the following locations:

* 117 Hester Street * Manhattan
* 119 Hester Street * Manhattan
* 16 Mott Street * Manhattan
* 164-06 43rd Avenue * Queens

As a result of these warrants, authorities recovered a .380 Automatic pistol, a bullet-proof vest, 50 rounds of .38 caliber bullets, approximately $40,000 in cash and a half-ounce of marijuana.

The two groups also controlled gambling parlors at the following locations:

* 85 Allen Street * Manhattan
* 86 Hester Street * Manhattan
* 109 East Broadway * Manhattan
* 133-10 41st Road * Queens
* 135-27 40th Road * Queens
* 135-19 40th Road * Queens
* 144-98 37th Avenue * Queens

The gangs used their international contacts for a variety of smuggling operations and counterfeiting operations. Members arranged for numerous illegal aliens to be smuggled into the United States via Hong Kong. Moreover, two additional search warrants for storage facilities in Queens netted counterfeit goods carrying the names of Chanel, Gucci and Coach.

As part of today's arrest, authorities confiscated assets from the two groups including Yi Fen's home valued at $900,000, four vehicles and a restaurant in Florida. In addition, several bank accounts were frozen to determine the financial source.

This investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

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