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Illegal Alien Sentenced for Koreatown Murder

Times Staff Writer

A 30-year-old illegal alien from South Korea was sentenced Wednesday to serve 40 years to life in prison for gangland-style shootings in a Koreatown restaurant that left one man dead and two others injured in 1985.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Kamins called the shootings “a very dastardly deed” and said the viciousness and coldblooded nature of the crime “knocked my socks off.”

In meting out the sentence, Kamins also said he was also influenced by a two-page pre-sentencing letter from defendant Chung Ki Yu. “Even in your letter to me,” Kamins said, “you have not recognized your guilt . . . and shown no remorse.” That, the judge said, is “a cowardly way to feel” about what happened on the night of Oct. 3 three years ago.

Defense attorney Paul J. Fitzgerald of Los Angeles had urged leniency, saying that his client is “a foreigner unfamiliar with our customs and our laws.”

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The shootings were a result of an unsuccessful attempt to shake down the intended target of the shootings, Sung Yi, who owned a Hollywood dance club at the time, said Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. John C. Spence III, who prosecuted the case.

Yu, who worked at Yi’s Club Napoleon as a parking attendant, was convicted by a jury in May of first-degree murder in the death of Kun Soo Lim, 28.

Lim was sitting in a booth at the Dong Kyung An Restaurant with Yi and five others when Yu and at least one accomplice entered the restaurant at 3077 West 8th St. and opened fire.

Yi, 36, ducked under the table but was struck by a shotgun blast, suffering permanent injuries, Spence said. For instance, when Yi appeared as a witness in Yu’s murder trial, he was unable to fully raise his right arm to take the oath. A third man in that restaurant booth, Casey Paik, 51, also was wounded.

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Lim died almost immediately as a result of chest wounds from a small-caliber handgun fired by Yu.

The second gunman, Pyong Tae Kang, who wielded the shotgun, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 27 years to life.

The case against a third defendant, Chang Bok An, was dropped because of the lack of a positive identification.


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