NEW YORK (AP) — A police detective pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges alleging he took money from club owners to warn them about upcoming police raids and encouraged fellow officers to release suspects arrested during drug raids.
Yatyu Yam, 35, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on charges of bribe receiving, official misconduct and receiving reward for official misconduct.
Authorities allege that in 2013, Yam approached the owner of a club in Flushing, Queens, known for ketamine and marijuana sales, and proposed to be paid if he tipped off the club's manager about any planned police raids. In August 2014, three or four people were detained by police in the same club, accused of openly possessing illegal drugs. Authorities say Yam later asked that the suspects be released without charges — and they were. Court documents say Yam later told an unnamed informant that he knew about the raid and had tipped off the manager, who Yam claimed erred by allowing the drugs inside.
A manager of two other clubs in Flushing told investigators that he paid Yam about $2,000 each month for three years for "protection" at the facilities, court papers said. The arrangement meant Yam would call the manager to warn him if police planned to raid either establishment, according to authorities.
Authorities say Yam also called a fellow officer in September 2014 after police made arrests at another club and asked for the suspects to be released. When he was told the arrests had already been processed, authorities say Yam asked for the people to be released on appearance tickets. Yam also allegedly asked that a fellow officer, known for "thoroughness," not be allowed to inspect some of the nearby clubs.
Authorities said a police lieutenant, Robert Sung, was also arrested in connection with the ongoing internal affairs probe. Police said Sung had been arrested on charges of bribe receiving and obstructing governmental administration. His alleged role was not immediately clear. Sung was awaiting arraignment Tuesday night and it was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.
Yam, a 10-year veteran officer, was arrested Monday and has been suspended without pay, authorities said. He was ordered held on $25,000 bail and was ordered to surrender his passport and firearms. Yam's attorney, James Moschella, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Associated Press writer Jake Pearson contributed to this report.