- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

A federal grand jury in New York yesterday indicted 39 persons in a suspected racketeering conspiracy by the so-called Yi Ging organization in New York’s Chinatown to control gambling activities and other illegal ventures through extortion, violence and threats of violence.

The 22-count indictment, handed up in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, said the organization regularly resorted to violence and threats to preserve, protect and augment its power and illegal money-making activities, which included extortion, the operation of several lucrative gambling parlors in the Chinatown section of Manhattan, and the large-scale importation and distribution of pirated DVDs and CDs.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Dean Boyd said the indictment charges 39 persons with wide-ranging criminal activity, including racketeering offenses, assault, extortion, conspiracy, extortionate debt collection, witness tampering, money laundering, trafficking in counterfeit DVDs and CDs, gambling and drug trafficking.

Mr. Boyd said the indictment also seeks $10 million in forfeiture from 18 suspects charged with racketeering, “reflecting the lucrative nature of the organization’s criminal businesses.”

The indictment is the result of coordinated investigations over the past three years directed at criminal organizations based in the Chinatown section of Manhattan by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in ICE, the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service and the New York Police Department.

Mr. Boyd said that in November 2004, related investigations resulted in the arrests of 51 members and associates of two other violent gangs that extorted numerous businesses and persons, operated gambling parlors and trafficked in counterfeit goods in New York City.

The indictment named Geng Chen and Kai Zhi Wang as leaders of the organization, saying they supervised, directed and participated in the gang’s criminal activities and ordered members and associates to use force against groups and persons perceived as threats — including the operators of rival gambling parlors and competitors in the counterfeit DVD and CD business.

It said the Yi Ging organization “reaped enormous profits” from its criminal activities, noting that its gambling parlors took in up to $50,000 in a night and its pirated DVD and CD business generated millions of dollars in profits.

The indictment said members of the organization traveled regularly to China to obtain illegal copies of American and Chinese DVDs, which they then smuggled into the United States. It said the organization then copied the DVDs, as well as pirated CDs of popular music, which were sold at stores it controlled in Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City.

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