By Madina Toure
Several officers assigned to the 109th Precinct are being investigated after two officers were charged with taking bribes from karaoke club owners in Flushing in exchange for protection from police raids investigating drugs at the spots, the Queens district attorney said.
The officers, Yaytu Yam, 35, a detective who had been with the NYPD since January 2005, and Robert Sung, 50, a lieutenant, have each been charged with taking bribes and receiving reward for official misconduct, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Sung was also charged with obstructing governmental administration, Brown said.
The NYPD suspended Yam and Sung and they each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, he said.
A police spokesman said several officers are being investigated in connection with the bribes but could not give an exact number.
In December 2013, Yam allegedly told the club manager of Club JJNY at 147-38 Northern Blvd.—described as a known location for drug activity, including ketamine and marijuana—that he would inform the club of any police raids if they paid him, according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office.
An officer told Sung he conducted an inspection of Club JJNY on Aug. 30, 2014 in which three to four individuals were placed in handcuffs for possessing controlled substances in open view within the location, according to the complaint.
The officer said he released the patrons because Yam told him he could not make arrests given that it was Sung’s “place,” which upset Sung, the complaint said.
Yam allegedly admitted to an officer that he gave a warning about the raid to the owner, who he said erred in allowing drugs to be present in the club during the police operation, the complaint said.
When an officer told Sung that a deputy inspector asked him to conduct another inspection of several karaoke clubs, Sung told the officer he would give Club JJNY an advance warning and directed him to transmit the inspection over the police band radio instead, the complaint continued.
Sung also told an officer and another individual to tell the clubs not to have drugs present and close down at 4 a.m. ahead of state troopers arriving, the complaint added.
Yam made an officer processing an arrest on Sept. 12, 2014 of two individuals who possessed narcotics while at Club Joyful at 33-46 Linden Place to issue them desk appearance tickets instead of charging them with a misdemeanor, the complaint said.
Yam allegedly invited club managers to a barbecue at his home as well as police birthday parties, where he received his $2,000 payments per month for three years of protection, according to the complaint.
Yam also asked an officer to conduct inspections at China Bar, Babyface, Soho and Flower, other Flushing karaoke clubs, the complaint said.
Yam had also suggested that an officer inspect a club doing business as Viva rather than the club operating as Flower, but then said that Flower should be inspected because of recent assaults reported at the location, according to the complaint.
In a letter dated Oct. 31, 2014 on behalf of a constituent to Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said residents asked that the Internet café and KTV karaoke bar at 140-08 Holly Ave. be investigated for alleged illegal activities.
In the letter, Stavisky said a shooting took place outside the strip mall on Oct. 30, 2014, citing two grand larcenies and a burglary the previous month and asking for increased patrol of the strip.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour