Five men, four allegedly members of a New York-based Chineses youth gang, have been indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury in connection with an attempt to export money from an employee of a local Chinese restaurant, country police said yesterday.
Police Chief Robert J. diGrazia said that the gang allegedly involved in the extortion attempt is largely responsible for a "wave of ertortions, murders, narcotics and illegal alien movement" in the East and parts of Canada.
Three of the five indicted men were arrested earlier this month in New Yor, diGrazia said, while a fourth fifth individual is still at large, he ssaid.
Thus far, however, Montgomery County is the only location police know for sure that an extortion attempt has occured, an investigator conceeded.
According to deGrazia, in November a group of men visited a local Chinese restaurant and demanded that an employee pay $ 1,500 to the treasurey of the gang, known as "Ghost Shadow" on threa of physical violence. DiGrazia declined to reveal names of the restaurant or employee.
Police learned of the extortion attempt when a friend of the employee contacted them, prompting the invesized crime unit, an investigator said.
DiGrazia took the unusual step yesterdat of asking reporters not to identify members of the department's organized crime unit investigating the alleged extortion attempt. He said publication of the names of the investigators, who fielded questions during the press conference yesterday, could hamper police efforts to develop new leads.
According to one of the investigatiors, police have reason to believe the gang has attempted to extort money from other employees of Chinese restaurants in the Washington and Baltimore areas. The investigators are incomplete, however, he said.
One investigator theorized that gang members were attempting to infiltrate the local area because police in New York are "putting a lot of pressure on the gangs in Chinatown territory and money."
It was also possible, he said, the men were trying to engage in "freelance extortion" - following the gang's unwritten rule that if members work outside the gang's normal territory, they can pocket the money they extort,rather than having to place it in the gang's treasury.
The gang's normal extortion procedure, another police officer said, was to walk into a restaurant and say that "a member of their brotherhood needs an operation, or money for legal expenses. Then a group of them comes back a few days later and orders a large meal, shrimp and wine and so on, and afterward they walk out on a $200 bill. Or the disrupt the restaurant by turning tables over.
Most restaurant owners, he said, give in to the pressure and give them the money.
The normal procedure was not followed in the Montgomery County case, however, police said. The attempted extortionists did not come back after their initial money demand - perhaps, police theorized, because they learned an investigation was going on.
Police identified the men arrested in New York as Bing Fa Yuen, 20, nicknamed "Mongo"; Hang Sang Leong, 25, nicknamed "Danny", and Shui Pink Wu, 21, nicknamed "Applehead." A fourth indicted gang member, Robert Hu, nicknamed "Taiwan Kid," is still being sought.
The nonmember, who was arrested in Chicago, and is alleged to be an illegal alien is Chin Si Chang, 31. All five were indicted for extortion and conspriracy.