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Chinatown extortion ring captured on video, feds say

Enforcers for the Chinese mob in Chicago roughed up three people — and threatened to kill one of them — to collect gambling debts and a restaurant’s debt to a seafood supplier, federal authorities say.

One of the beatings was captured on a security video camera, officials said.

Daniel Zhu, 19, Jinhuang “Benny” Zheng, 31, Sheng “Peter” Quan Dong, 41, Bing “Michael” Liang Chen, 26, Mingrui Sun, 20, and Jack Wu, 24, were indicted Thursday in federal court on extortion charges.

On Nov. 25, 2013, Zhu and several associates allegedly beat up two people to collect a debt owed to a Chinese sports bookmaker. One of the victims was hospitalized.

In May, Zhu attended a meeting at the Ming Hin Restaurant at 2168 S. Archer to discuss collecting a $40,000 debt that restaurants in west suburban Lombard and Naperville owed to Zheng’s seafood supply company in Indiana, authorities said.

On June 1, Zheng traveled with Zhu, Dong, Chen and Sun to Aurora where they confronted a former employee of the restaurants, officials said.

They told the ex-worker that his boss would be in “big trouble” if the debt wasn’t repaid, according to an FBI affidavit.

The confrontation happened outside a restaurant in Aurora where the former employee had landed a new job.

The five men repeatedly punched and kicked the former employee, authorities said. One of the attackers said: “If you don’t pay, you will die,” according to the FBI.

One of the kicks to the victim’s head left an imprint of a shoe, officials said. The beating was captured on surveillance video — and a tattoo of a dragon on Zhu’s right arm helped investigators identify him as one of the attackers, the FBI said.

Wu and Chen later returned to the Aurora restaurant to shake down the former employee again, the FBI said. Chen allegedly threatened to break the restaurant’s windows if the debt wasn’t repaid.

The restaurants in Naperville and Lombard have been permanently closed, the FBI said.

Last month, the FBI executed search warrants at restaurants in Chinatown, including several owned by prominent chef Tony Hu. Those searches were unrelated to the extortion investigation, an FBI spokeswoman said.