Western District of Washington

June 9, 2006

Employees of Chinese Restaurant Paid less than Minimum Wage for Long Hours of Work

JIAN ZHONG TANG, 37, of Tacoma, Washington was sentenced to ten months in prison and three years of supervised release for Concealing and Harboring an Illegal Alien. In addition, U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess ordered TANG to pay more than $38,000 in back wages to the workers who were exploited. This is the second case in the last six months regarding a Tacoma Chinese restaurant owner harboring illegal aliens.

According to documents filed in the case, on September 23, 2005, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement executed a search warrant on TANG’s Tacoma home. They found ten people living in the home. Four of the residents were undocumented individuals who were not legally in the United States. The residents were all employed at TANG’s restaurant, the New Great Wall in Tacoma. A search of the restaurant revealed two additional employees who were not legally living and working in the U.S.

Interviews with workers revealed that they were paid below state and federal minimum wage for 10-12 hour workdays. According to TANG he found these employees through employment agencies in New York, Chicago and California. The workers never filled out any paperwork related to their employment, never provided any proof of their status in the U.S. and were paid in cash. TANG admitted he knew some of the workers were not legally in the United States.

In February, Yan Shu, 31, of University Place, Pierce County, Washington was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for Harboring and Concealing Illegal Aliens. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents found eight people living in her University Place home who did not have legal status to reside in the United States. Shu employed the aliens at her Tacoma Restaurant, the Rainbow Buffet.

Both cases were investigated by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. TANG was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Jill Otake.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.