What are things coming to these days when a massage-parlor owner can't even try to bribe a cop without getting in trouble?
That's the whine of Man Hui Cho and his wife Ki Sun Park, who were just trying to go along to get along as they operated the family businesses, La Premiere Femme and Sakura Spa.
The businesses were designed merely to offer stress relief to tired businessmen, that relief very possibly including tender ministrations to whatever erections occurred during the stress relief.
In order to increase efficiency -- which is something we thought a business is supposed to do -- they offered a bribe to an HPD cop so he'd tip them off on any impending raids.
"Cho and Park's interest in the information was to avoid the apprehension and deportation of some of the South Korean females working as prostitutes and residing at their businesses who had no legal status in the United States," the US Attorney's office says.
So they're protecting these innocent gals.
Law enforcement officials didn't see it that way, and had an FBI agent pose as a cop to take the bribes. The price? $1,500 a month.
The agent even fed them a tip and HPD staged a raid that misfired because the couple had successfully moved their workers.
Even with an additional one-time bribe of $10,000 to an ICE official to get passports, the sting
saw the bogus cops get $30,000 in bribes. That's a pretty lengthy and extensive investigation, but the wheels of federal justice grind slowly.
The pair were convicted today and face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine each. Pending sentencing, they're wearing electronic monitors and cursing themselves for not choosing the right cop.
-- Richard Connelly
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.