Homeland Security Investigations special agents and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department arrested a Woodland Hills man on federal charges that he was extorting “protection” money from several businesses in Koreatown.
According to the Justice Department, the federal investigation into 38-year-old Daekun Cho began a year ago and found that he was demanding protection money from karaoke businesses in Koreatown as well as from “doumi,” who are hostesses employed by patrons of the karaoke establishments.
“To further his extortion scheme, Cho committed shootings, a carjacking, a kidnapping and other acts of physical violence,” the complaint affidavit said. “Cho made explicit threatening statements to the doumi drivers and karaoke bar owners to get them to pay a monthly fee.”
The affidavit also outlines other physical attacks committed by Cho dating back to May of 2021, when he is alleged to have beaten a victim with a baseball bat after the victim refused to pay protection money after a price increase.
In yet another incident in August 2022, Cho demanded that several doumi drivers leave a karaoke bar, and when they were driving away, they “heard gunshots and one of the doumis suffereed a gunshot wound to the neck” according to the Justice Department. This particular incident is still under investigation by the LAPD.
Another victim claims he had been paying Cho for almost four years and that Cho allegedly assaulted him and stole $1,000 from him in January 2023.
Cho faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted on a charge of interference with commerce by threats or violence.
He is expected to make his initial appearance in court on Thursday.