A Queens woman is charged with endangering the lives of two teenagers whom authorities said she held “captive as slaves” for several years.
Sook Yeong Park, 42, took two Korean children — now ages 16 and 14 — into her home in 2010 and “then forced [them] to do her bidding over a six-year period,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement Tuesday.
During that time, prosecutors said, Park had the children sleep on the floor and “provide her with manicures, pedicures and multihour massages.”photosRecent NYC mug shotsSee alsoMajor NYC crime
The victims were not even provided a mattress, Brown said. And, he said, in the case of the older child, the floor space provided for sleep “allegedly was in a closet.”
The older child was female, the younger child her brother, Brown said.
Park was ordered held on $10,000 bond or $2,500 cash bail after appearing before Queens Criminal Court Judge Elisa Koenderman Saturday, prosecutors said. She was charged in a criminal complaint with labor trafficking, third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Park faces up to 7 years in prison.
An attorney listed for Park could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. Park, of 43-52 196th St., Flushing, is due back in court Feb. 16.
The victims were brought into the United States by a relative of Park, Brown said; Park then confiscated the victims’ passports and moved to another house, Brown said.
The female victim was “forced by Park to work almost every day after school” for about 10 hours — from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., work that entailed “housework, including meticulously cleaning Park’s residence for her and her family, as well as forcing the young woman to give her back and foot massages and manicures and pedicures,” Brown said.
In one instance, Brown said, Park “forced the young female to give her a five-hour body massage” while Park watched television, Brown said.
Starting in April 2013, Brown said Park forced the girl to work at a grocery two days a week for about eight hours a day. Park then seized the girl’s pay, a salary of $10 per hour, Brown said.
Starting in September 2014 until this month, Brown said, the girl was forced to work in a different grocery, on Northern Boulevard in Queens, “several days a week” for about nine hours each of those days. Again, Brown said, the girl had to turn over all pay to Park. Brown said the boy also had to work at the store, starting in August.
Park told the children they had to turn over all pay because their mother wasn’t sending money from Korea, Brown said in his statement about the case.
Authorities alleged that Park scratched and kicked the girl in anger over manicures and pedicures that weren’t to her standards. Brown said Park also cut off the girl’s hair once, kicking her in the head, after becoming angered with her.
Park also cut off all contact between the children and their parents, Brown said, adding that, for the girl, last week was the first time in three years she’d talked to her mother.
Authorities were alerted to the situation earlier this month after the children reported the physical abuse to officials at Francis Lewis High School, Brown said.
Officer Gregory Payea of the 111th Precinct then investigated the complaints and Park was charged, following additional investigations, including one by the NYPD School Safety Division Field Intelligence Unit, Brown said.