Businesswoman charged with bribery of a police officer
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A businesswoman who tried to bribe a senior police officer by offering him $60 to release a cook who was arrested on another matter, was arrested by police Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.
Ping Yang, who is Asian, made her initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning. She was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General, Jason Mitchell.
Yang is charged with bribery of a public servant, a class D felony.
Judge Fiti Sunia established Yang’s bail at $5,000, surety bond.
If she posts her bond, the court has ordered that she remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and she has to surrender her travel documents to the government’s attorney. She was also ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses.
Yang is scheduled to appear in court this morning for her preliminary examination.
According to the government's case, on Oct. 8, 2018, members of the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit apprehended an Asian male for public peace disturbance in Atu’u. The man was identified as Ngoc Dat Pham.
At the police station in Fagatogo, police officers were in the midst of processing the man when two Asian females walked in, straight to where Pham was seated.
One of the women, later identified as Yang, introduced herself to police officers as Pham’s boss, and she wanted to know what happened.
Court documents say Yang spoke good English.
After officers explained to Yang what happened and why Pham was brought to the police station, Yang walked outside and about 5 minutes later, Det. John Paselio walked into the station and notified the investigating officer that Yang gave him $60 (US currency) and instructed him to release Pham.
According to Paselio, he was standing outside the police station when Yang walked towards him, pulled him by his arm to the side of the building, and told him she was Pham’s boss and the suspect is her cook.
Yang told Paselio that she has nobody to cook for her restaurant.
She then took money from her wallet, crumbled it, put it in Paselio’s left hand and tried to put the officer's left hand inside his pocket.
She then told the cop to go release the cook.
Yang was notified about what happened and informed of her constitutional rights.
Out of the blue, she told officers that she does not understand English. She then started speaking in an Asian dialect and said she wanted to talk to her sister.
Yang was later booked and confined at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
On Oct. 8, 2018 around 5:30 p.m, several police officers were patrolling in the Atu’u area heading westbound when they observed a male on the sidewalk near the public highway holding what appeared to be a homemade air rifle.
The male was later identified as Ngoc Dat Pham.
Officers said they observed Pham shooting at the chickens running up the hill across from the cannery.
Cops immediately pulled over next to Pham and confiscated the weapon, which, according to police, appeared to be loaded.
Officers were able to secure the weapon inside a police unit.
When questioned by police, Pham said he resides in one of the restaurants in Atu’u. Police detected a strong odor of alcohol on Pham’s breath and person. According to police officers, Pham's eyes were blood shot red.
Court documents say Pham told police that he consumed two cans of beer and he wanted to eat chicken. And that's why he was using his homemade air rifle — to look for a wild chicken to eat.
Pham made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General, Jason Mitchell.
He is charged with public peace disturbance, unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon — all class A misdemeanors.
Judge Sunia established Pham’s bail at $500, surety bond.
If he posts bond, the court has ordered that he remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and he has to surrender his travel documents to the government’s attorney. He is also ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with all the government’s witnesses, and not to possess any illegal firearms or any dangerous weapons while his case is pending.
According to a report from the Immigration Office, Pham’s immigration ID is expired.
Sunia told Pham, through his translator, that he is not allowed to work until his immigration ID is renewed. If he continues to work while his ID is expired, the court will consider that action a violation of his release.
Pham is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 30 for his pretrial conference.