5 accused of extorting protection money from restaurant - New York News

5 accused of extorting protection money from restaurant

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DULUTH, Ga. -

Police have arrested five men accused of pressuring a local business owner to turn over cash in exchange for protection.

Federal investigators said that five members of an Atlanta-based gang demanded a monthly share of the Gah Bin Korean restaurant's profits beginning in 2009.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the gang used threats, force and firearms to extort the money from the Korean bar and restaurant in Duluth.

Eugene Thomas Chung and his crew allegedly promised to assault the owner and harass customers and workers until the owner made payments ranging from $400 to $800.

The FBI opened an investigation after the unnamed restaurant owner was pistol-whipped.

According to a federal grand jury indictment, an undercover FBI agent learned about other illegal services the gang allegedly offered. Police say that included marijuana distribution, gambling, and debt collection.

The indictment states that Chung, the ringleader, offered to help the undercover agent by saying he and associates were "best at making people crippled," and said they could also make people "permanently limp, blind or deaf."

A 13-count indictment was returned this week. In addition to 39-year-old Chung, also charged are Athith A. Vorasith, 39, of Auburn, Ga.; Jong Sung Kim, 48, of Suwanee, Ga.; Ye El Choi, 30, of Norcross, Ga.; and Thomas Jungwon Lee, 32, of Duluth, Ga.

The men are charged with extortion, drug trafficking and firearms offenses. If convicted, the maximum sentence include life in prison.

The restaurant has since changed hands. Current owners said that if the charges are true, they are relieved that the alleged gang members are off the street.

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