Feds: Chinatown gang extorted bus companies

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged 13 members of a Chinatown gang in New York City with bullying at least two interstate bus companies for a share of ownership and a cut of profits.
The members of the gang, dubbed the Banya organization after the village in China where many of them lived, are accused of extortion, kidnapping, assault, drug sales and the operation of illegal gambling businesses.

The indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan charged the members with racketeering conspiracy. Prosecutors said Banya should be forced to give up at least $10 million in revenue it received from the crimes.

Ten Chinese defendants, who have nicknames such as "Vegetable Duck," "Big Flower" and "Fatty," were arrested Wednesday in nightclubs and through traffic stops in Queens, prosecutors said. One was arrested in Coral Springs, Fla., and two were still at large. The gang was based in Chinatown and in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens.

Information about the defendants' attorneys wasn't immediately available.

The indictment said the gang forced the operators of at least two interstate bus companies to give them a share of their businesses. Neither company was identified in court papers.

More than a dozen bus companies have sprung up in Chinatown, offering cheap travel between major East Coast cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. The popular buses pick up passengers at designated street stops and have virtually no advertising.

Federal prosecutors used racketeering laws in 1996 to go after gangs based in Chinatown. In that case, 35 gang members were accused of extorting thousands of dollars from families of new immigrants.
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