Prostitution Ring Busted

July 26, 2002

Press Conference
Friday, July 26, 2002
2:00 p.m.
Wilshire Area Community Room
4849 West Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles
Los Angeles: On July 5, 2002, detectives from the Wilshire Area became aware that a female Korean was kidnapped from the street near Downtown Los Angeles and being held for ransom in a Koreatown apartment building.
Based on this information, detectives and patrol officers from Wilshire Area formulated a plan and responded to 2960 West 8th Street apartment, #106, to rescue the victim from her captors. A search of the apartment was conducted and the victim was rescued. Two suspects, Sun-Hwa Lee, 30 years old, female Korean, a resident of Los Angeles, and Kenith Park, 37 years old, male Korean, a resident of Beverly Hills, were arrested for Kidnap for Ransom.
Further investigation revealed that Sun-Hwa Lee and Kenith Park along with Jong-Chang Joo, 39 years old, male Korean, a resident of Rowland Heights, who is still outstanding, were operating an illegal prostitution ring by luring unsuspecting, innocent young females from Korea into Canada and Mexico. The suspects then smuggled them across the United States border using false passports and visas. Once in the United States, the females were forced to work as prostitutes.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged both Sun-Hwa Lee and Kenith Park with Kidnap for Ransom, pimping and pandering. Both suspects are awaiting preliminary hearing.
The Los Angeles Police Department is requesting assistance from the community in apprehending Jong-Chang Joo who has an outstanding felony warrant for pimping and pandering.
Deputy Chief David Kalish, Commander Paul Kim and Wilshire Area detectives will be conducting the press conference. The suspects’ photographs will be made available to solicit the public’s assistance in locating the outstanding suspect and additional victims.
Anyone with information should contact Wilshire Area detectives at 213-473-0446. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-529-3855.
This media advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.