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Three Asian Street Gang Members
Convicted of Little Tokyo Murder

June 18, 2004
Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525

LOS ANGELES – Three members of the Black Dragons, a loosely knit Asian street gang, were convicted by a jury today of murdering a man who was stabbed to death in a Little Tokyo restaurant 2-1/2 years ago, the District Attorney’s office announced.

The trio was among several Black Dragons arrested last year during an interagency task force sweep of members of the gang. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and more than a dozen other law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigations and arrests last July. The three convicted today are among the first to stand trial although other cases are pending later this year.

After two days deliberation, a jury in the court of Judge Larry Paul Fidler convicted Tony Phoutthachak, 20; Cham Hoang, 22; and Johnson Le, 20, of the murder of Binh Quan Huynh. Phoutthachak was convicted of first-degree murder and the others of second-degree murder. Hoang also was convicted of two additional counts of dissuading witnesses in 2003 and one count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm. The jury also found the crimes were committed to benefit a street gang.

The defendants return to Judge Fidler’s court on July 19 for sentencing. Phoutthachak faces a 26-year-to life sentence and Le a 15-year-to life sentence. Hoang, whose gang moniker is "Ruthless," faces three life sentences because of the convictions involving the witnesses.

A fourth defendant, Danny Ng. 19, pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to 13 years in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney May Chung of the Hardcore Gang Division’s Asian Gang Unit handled the prosecution. She also is involved in the prosecution of others arrested and charged last July.

The FBI and Los Angeles and Monterey Park police departments were involved in the investigation of the Little Tokyo murder, which occurred on Dec. 15, 2002.

Those charged in other cases include Khoanh A. Lam, 36, the leader of the Black Dragons who goes by the street moniker "Ah-Sing," and the No. 2 person in the gang, Minh Trang Tran, 51, known as "Ah-Ming." Lam, Tran, Hoang and fourth gang member who remains a fugitive are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and solicitation of murder in connection with attacks on two people in September 2001. A date for the trial, to be held in Pasadena Superior Court, has not yet been scheduled.


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