See the update at the end of this post on the charges and possible punishments facing the trio.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 22, 10:03 A.M.: Apologies to Gao Yang Zhou, because the just-convicted brothel owner may have had competition when it came to running the best little whorehouse in Irvine. The police department announced the arrests Thursday afternoon of three people who allegedly operated brothels in apartments in Irvine and Newport Beach.
A year-long investigation by detectives resulted in search warrants being served at several locations in Koreatown, Los Angeles, Irvine and Newport Beach, according to Commander Julia Engen, the Irvine Police spokeswoman. She identified those facing charges of pimping, pandering and human trafficking as LA's Gin Woo Park, 41, and Heung Soon Kim, 56, and Newport Beach's Miyoun Kim, 36.
The Irvine detectives had received a tip in June of 2013 that prostitution was occurring in a rented apartment in the 2000 block of Alton Parkway, according to Engen, who confirmed for the Weekly that there is no relationship with that operation and Zhou's, which also included a rented apartment on Alton.
The tip was followed by an investigation led to multiple suspects and locations that were part of the case against the trio, said Engen, who also mentioned that "women involved in the prostitution activities were referred for appropriate care and services."
Irvine cops "worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force to complete this investigation," Engen said.
UPDATE, AUG. 25, 4:02 P.M.: In a statement on today's scheduled arraignment of the two men and one woman who allegedly operated a high-end, residential brothel in Irvine, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) presented the maximum punishments each face.
The men, Gin Woo Park (whose first name was corrected since the original police report) and Heung Soon Kim, are each charged with two felony counts of human trafficking, 13 felony counts of pimping, and 13 felony counts of pandering that could send both to state prison for 40 years and eight months with convictions. Miyoun Kim is charged with six felony counts of pimping, six felony counts of pandering and faces 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted.
The OCDA said it would request Park and Heung Kim be held on $1 million bail and Miyoun Kim be held on $250,000 bail.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.