18 June, 2010

Korean clubs

Bae Shang and Chai Chong were business associates, who owned a number of restaurants and bars in the Sydney area, including the Ehwa Karaoke Bar in Kings Cross. They were both Korean Nationals.

In early 1997 a violent fight had taken place at the Beewon Restaurant in Kings Cross, involving another Korean national and known gangster, Duck Kim. Lee Sang, an employee at Beewon, fled the scene, hiding at the Ehwa Karaoke Bar. Concern began to grow among Korean businessmen in Sydney that Korean gangs were causing trouble at businesses owned by Korean nationals.

On January 30th, Duck Kim and Dok Kim arrived at Ehwa. Bae and Chai became worried about their presence. Bae announced “I will teach them a lesson”. Chai contacted Lee Sang and others, asking them to come to Ehwa, because there were gangsters present.

A trio arrived including Lee Sang, and they noticed Duck Kim and Dok Kim sitting outside Ehwa in a car. An attack swiftly followed, with Lee punching Dok twice through the open window of the driver’s seat. The other two dragged Duck out of the car, as Dok and Lee continued to struggle.

Chai and Bae emerged from the garage of Ehwa carrying broken pieces of a hatstand as wooden batons. They joined in the fight, and Duck and Dok were dragged back into the garage by all five. Bae was continually striking Duck with his home-made baton. Others also continued to attack Dok. Bae then stood back while the others dragged the pair upstairs to another room, and continued their assault.

Sang Lee eventually came back down and told Bae to arrange for Duck and Dok to be taken to hospital - they were driven to St Vincents and left there. Both died at the hospital.

The cause of death was found to be multiple blunt force head injuries.

Bae and Chai were arrested shortly afterwards, and Sang Lee, who fled Australia, was eventually arrested in New Zealand. The others involved were not found, having also fled the country.

Bae and Chai were charged with murder and stood trial together. As an alternative to the murder charge, they were also charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. Bae acquitted of murder but found guilty of the alternative GBH charge.

Sang Lee similarly pleaded guilty to maliciously inflicting GBH.

Chai was convicted of manslaughter.

The maximum penalty for maliciously inflicting GBH is seven years imprisonment. Bae was sentenced to a total of five years, with a non-parole period of three years and three months.

Sang Lee was sentenced on two years, with a non-parole period of one year and nine months. The Judge found that Bae’s role in the events was much greater that Lee’s, who was only found to be responsible for punching and wrestling with Dok. Sang had also pleaded guilty, and gave evidence against Bae and Chai.

Bae appealed his sentence on the basis that it should have been similar to Lee’s. Bae submitted that Lee had started the fight by punching Dok through the car window. However the Appeal Court felt Bae had really started it by saying he would teach them a lesson and summoning Lee and his friends to the scene.

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