More 109th Pct. officers under investigation in karaoke club incidents

By Madina Toure

More police officers from the 109th Precinct are under investigation following the December arrests of two fellow officers, who were charged with taking bribes from Flushing karaoke club owners in exchange for protection from police raids, according to a lawyer for one of the officers.

The original officers, Yatyu Yam, 35, a detective who had been with the NYPD since January 2005, and Robert Sung, 50, a lieutenant, were each 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, the DA said.

Marvyn Kornberg, Sung’s lawyer, said he has been suspended from the NYPD while Jeffrey Lichtman, Yam’s lawyer, said he continues to work for the department.

Kornberg said he could not confirm the ranks of the other officers being investigated.

“There are a number of police officers that have been transferred and/or placed on modified assignment as a result of the investigation going on,” he said.

The NYPD could not be reached for comment and its Internal Affairs Bureau would not comment on the investigation.

Yam and Sung accepted cash and other forms of payment to notify a club owner when either the narcotics or vice unit was going to inspect or raid the establishment, according to Brown.

The owners of Club JJNY and Club Joyful allegedly paid Yam $2,000 per month for three years for protection, according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA.

Sung allegedly told a police officer he would give Club JJNY an advance warning and directed him to transmit an inspection over the police band radio, the complaint said.

Kornberg said the first time Sung was interrogated by the Internal Affairs Bureau, he ended up refusing to answer questions since they did not provide the names of the witnesses against him. At the time, he was on the NYPD payroll.

The Internal Affairs Bureau interrogated him a second time two weeks later, Kornberg continued.

Sung said he would only answer questions if he were to be paid and they refused and suspended him, Kornberg added.

“They never even got to bring (departmental) charges against him and then when they did bring the first set of charges against him, they dismissed them for the silly charges that they brought against him,” Kornberg said. “So they got what they wanted and I got what I wanted.”

Jeffrey Lichtman, Yam’s lawyer said the current investigation is unrelated to Yam and Sung.

“The allegation seems to be that there’s rampant corruption in the 109,” Lichtman said. “It’s not just centered around Sung and Yam.”

He said Yam is still working and continues to be paid. “I’m hopeful that we’ll resolve it,” he continued. “The prosecutors have been reasonable so far and I’m hoping that we can reach an amicable resolution.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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