NORCROSS, Ga. -- A federal grand jury has charged five metro Atlanta men with terrorizing business owners in Gwinnett County.
Investigators said 39-year-old Eugene Thomas "Yoo Jin" Chung was the ringleader of the crimes. He and four fellow gang members -- 24-year-old Athith "Andy" Vorasith, 48-year-old Jong Sung "John" Kim, 30-year-old Ye El "David" Choi and 32-year-old Thomas Jungwon Lee -- have been charged with extortion, drug trafficking and firearm possession.
According to information presented in court, in July 2009, Chung and his co-defendants began threatening the owner of the Gah Bin Korean restaurant. They demanded monthly payments between $400 and $800 in exchange for protection.
Chung threatened to harm the victim and vandalize the restaurant if he did not receive the money, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. The gang members started carrying guns and tormenting other Korean business owners to make their point.
The victim contacted the FBI and federal agents began surveillance of the restaurant, Yates said.
In March 2010, the victim arranged a meeting between Chung, Vorasith, Lee and an undercover agent. During the meeting, Chung claimed he could offer the agent a host of illegal services, including gambling, extortion, debt collection and marijuana distribution. He also said he could make people "permanently limp, blind or deaf" if need be, according to Yates.
Chung and Vorasith face maximum sentences of life in prison, while Choi, Kim and Lee could each serve as much as 20 years. All of the defendants are also subject to fines of more than $1 million.