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Friday, July 02, 2004

New York City - A 24-year-old Korean immigrant was arrested Thursday on charges she tried to obstruct a federal probe of a suspected human trafficking

New York City - Queens news
A 24-year-old Korean immigrant was arrested Thursday on charges she tried to obstruct a federal probe of a suspected human trafficking operation in Flushing.

Charged with two counts of obstruction of justice was Myung Hee Kim, described by investigators as an illegal immigrant from Korea, who allegedly tried to conceal business records and other documents from the Renaissance Bar at 35-28 154th St. in Flushing.

The Renaissance was ran by Kyongja Kang and Wun Lee Kang, both 41, a married couple arrested earlier this year on charges they brought two Korean women to the U.S. to work at the establishment under forced labor conditions, according to court records.

The Kangs were accused of the crime of peonage after they allegedly recruited the young women to immigrate from Korea with the promise of good wages from nightclub work and the further assurance that they would not work as prostitutes. However, after the women arrived in Queens, the Kangs kept their earnings and attempted to force them to work as prostitutes, according to federal officials.

Both Kangs, who live in Port Jefferson, are being held without bail while awaiting trial.

Also charged in the case but free on bail was Nisim Yushuvayev, 28, an inspector with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Yushuvayev, who was suspended pending resolution of the criminal case, was accused of assisting the Kangs by attempting to expell one of the female victims from the U.S. after she contacted police to complain about Wun Hee Kang.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Kim was charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of obstruction. She was held without bail after her arraignment Thursday and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Norm Trabulus could not be reached for comment Friday.

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