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News >  Idaho

Man who smuggled women across border will be deported

A Canadian-Korean man guilty of smuggling Korean women across the Canadian border into Idaho will soon be going home.

In one of two such cases to come before him within about an hour on Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Larry Boyle sentenced Randell Chong Park to time served for his role in smuggling five women across the border late last year.

Park has been jailed since he was arrested Dec. 18. He will remain in jail until deported to Canada, which defense attorney Amy Rubin estimated could be two more weeks.

Park, who lives in Calgary and otherwise has a clean criminal record, said he was working on a golf course when he was approached by “President Kim” about a side job of driving illegal aliens from the Idaho border to Los Angeles. He took the job because of financial troubles his family had been having since his wife seriously injured her back.

“I thought extra money would be helpful,” Park told the judge. “It’s the most stupid decision I ever made in my life.”

Rubin said she didn’t know who “President Kim” was, and assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Cook just shrugged her shoulders when asked if Park’s case was related to a later smuggling case that occurred last month.

In that case, Sang Yoon Kim and Bum Suk Kim, who are not related, were arrested for smuggling 13 women and one man across the border. Sang Yoon Kim flew from his home in Vancouver, B.C., to Los Angeles and met Bum Suk Kim.

The two rented an RV and drove it to Idaho, and Sang Yoon Kim picked up the women and man just south of the Eastport, Idaho, border crossing, according to court documents.

Sang Yoon Kim admitted having made three previous smuggling trips from Idaho to Los Angeles, and said he was paid $200 per person and $4,000 for expenses.

On Monday, Sang Yoon Kim pleaded guilty to knowingly transporting illegal aliens and agreed to cooperate with authorities in their investigations in return for a lighter sentence.

Kim’s father, who drove from Vancouver for the day, took notes of the proceedings while his wife wiped tears from her eyes with a carefully folded handkerchief.

Federal sources say the human smuggling problem appears to be moving east since the border patrol has stepped up security in Western Washington.

Although officials involved in the two recent Idaho cases don’t allege that the women were destined for debt bondage in the sex trade, that’s been the fate of many Korean women who have owed their smugglers for the trip to the United States, according to federal authorities.

The women in Kim’s smuggling case are in the Shoshone County Jail awaiting deportation.

Kim’s co-defendant in the case, Bum Suk Kim, has not changed his not-guilty plea and may eventually go to trial for human smuggling.

In Park’s case, his co-defendant, Sung Jin Park, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27, also for human smuggling.

Following Randell Chong Park’s tearful plea for leniency, Judge Boyle noted that Park had been a golf pro.

“I never thought I’d say this, but it’s important that you spend more time on the golf course,” Boyle said. “Just go back and take care of your family.”

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