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2 Charged in Loan Sharking at Mohegan Sun

14 March 2002

Mohegan -- As reported by the Eastern Connecticut Day: ``Two New York men were arrested Tuesday night by state police at the Mohegan Sun Casino and charged with running a high-stakes loan sharking network.

``The arrests, authorities believe, reflect the growth of highly insular Asian crime networks in the state. They are the second set of loan sharking arrests in the past two months.

``The investigation into the operation was launched by Mohegan Sun officials last year and involved the state police casino unit, the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission, authorities said

``Zu Jian Zheng, 42, of New York, N.Y., and Shen Chen, 38, of Flushing, N.Y, were both charged Tuesday night with conspiracy and extortionate extension of credit — or loan sharking — when state troopers apprehended them at the casino around 8:30 p.m.

``The two were held overnight on $500,000 bonds, which were reduced to $10,000 bonds by the court after they were arraigned Wednesday.

``Court records in the case were sealed, but authorities said that in the past year, Zheng and Chen would loan high-stakes gamblers as much as $100,000 in cash and would then charge extremely high interest rates that were compounded each day. If a customer failed to pay back the loan on time, the two would threaten the patron or the person's relatives with physical violence.

``Chinese and Taiwanese gangs, known as black societies or triads, are considered to be among the most efficient, effective and widespread crime syndicates in the country

``...Typically, experts say, triad activity is conducted within Asian communities..."

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