The Olympic Community Police Station raised awareness of the dangers of illegal drug trafficking with Korean gangs in LA Koreatown.
Chief Aaron Ponce participated in an OBA meeting via online, and Sergeant Peter Kim, the newly appointed community officer (CRO), attended the meeting to talk about security issues of Koreatown.
“There is no detailed data, but it seems that these illegal activities are still being carried out secretly in town in karaoke rooms and clubs, and it has been going on for years,” Kim said, explaining, “Korean or Asian gangs are responsible for these crimes.”
Sergeant Kim is a veteran officer who has worked for the LAPD for more than 20 years and is a Koreatown expert who has worked as an investigator in charge of Asian gangs at Wilshire (2005) and Rampart(2012) police stations.
He pointed out, “There are numerous Korean and Asian gangs such as ACS and KM, but they are not known to the public with very little reports being made of them.”
He then claimed that Korean and Asian gangs differ from Latino or black gangs.
“Based on my past experience, Korean and Asian gangs usually do business to make money, so they dress normal and drive with a proper license,” Kim said. “It’s different from Latino and black gangs who are known to frequently commit drive by shootings.”
“In addition, they are relatively not violent, so unlike other gangs, they are difficult to distinguish (from ordinary people) and aren’t reported as often,” he added.
Moreover, he explains that Korean business owners cover up gang activities in their businesses, making it more difficult to catch them.
“These businesses violate liquor sales hours, sell alcohol to minors, and hire prostitutes,” Kim said. “Owners often look the other way even when they witness acts of drug trafficking or illegal activities run by gangs in their business because they are afraid of their own crimes surfacing.”
“In particular, gangs use drug trade as their main source of income, but recently, GHB, Ecstasy, and Fentanyl are prevalent,” he said. “Recently, Asian gangs, like other ethnic gangs, often carry guns, so we should be careful.”
“The problem of illegal drug trafficking is serious not only in Koreatown but also across the whole country,” Ponce said. “Unlike drugs sold at pharmacies, illegal drugs are not refined, and it is very dangerous because we cannot know what it is made of.”
“Many Koreans don’t even know Korean gangs exist,” OBA Chairman Brad Lee said. “But they do business in Koreatown, putting the community at risk. We need to raise awareness and actively cooperate with the police.”
Meanwhile, Chief Ponce said that crime rate increased in Koreatown last year as a result of unstable security conditions continued throughout the city of Los Angeles.
According to Ponce, violent crimes and property crimes in the Olympic Community Police Station increased by 9.1% and 11.7%, respectively, last year.
The station also reported that eight more violent crimes have occurred so far this year compared to the same period last year, and explained that the number of victims in one case, in particular, is also affecting the increase in crime statistics.
He advised, “In particular, crimes of commercial burglary targeting local businesses is increasing recently, so never leave money outside in plain sight.” He then said, “CCTVs are important in obtaining decisive evidence,” adding, “I personally recommend high-performance smart cameras, and business owners should make sure that the cameras are operating without glitch.”
BY JANG SU-AH [firstname.lastname@example.org]