Lack of Prosecution to Blame for Saipan Prostitution?

June 14, 2009

A recent Saipan Tribune article quoted Police Commissioner Santiago Tudela as saying that prostitutes and illegal cab drivers arrested in the tourist district were back on the street the next evening because there is a lack of prosecution in these cases. Police Commissioner Tudela, Immigration Deputy Director Tony Sablan, David Palacios from the Dept. of Commerce, David Maratita of the Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Control Division, and Perry Tenorio from the Marianas Visitor's Authority met with members of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism to discuss problems in the tourist district. Only the Office of the Attorney General failed to send a representative.

The committee called the meeting because of complaints from business owners and residents who are worried that the illegal activities were negatively impacting tourism.

Police Commissioner Tudela said:
“For example, during the last time we did a sting operation and we arrested 16 women for prostitution, all of them have since been released. They're back on the street doing the same thing,” Tudela told Saipan Tribune.

In that sting operation, the Department of Public Safety and other enforcement agencies sought the help of visiting U.S. sailors to pose as “customers to solicit” services of suspected prostitutes, Tudela said.

In yesterday's meeting with members of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism and other agencies in the House chamber, Tudela said the lack of prosecution not only defeats the law but also hurts the morale of police officers who made the arrests on probable cause.

Tudela and Police Officer Vicente Sablan also told lawmakers that the Department of Public Safety does not receive any update from the Office of the Attorney General on the status of cases prosecuted, if they are at all prosecuted.

“We make arrests, they're put to jail for hours, they post bail and they're free again. Once it's with the Attorney General's Office, we won't know of the status of the case,” Tudela said, adding that the courts also do not provide DPS information on the conditions of release of individuals arrested.
It appears to be a waste of the police department's time and resources to arrest the prostitutes and illegal cab drivers unless the cases are prosecuted.

The obvious lack of communication and coordination between the police department and OAG was not lost on the committee. From the Tribune:
Reyes said he will meet with a representative from the OAG, as well as the judiciary, before calling another meeting among agencies.

“We won't know why there's a breakdown of communication or lack of coordination but maybe the OAG also has some problems. I would be sitting down with them to talk about the things discussed today,” Reyes said in an interview after the meeting.
Laws that are not enforced are meaningless, and apparently even the criminals know that their are no consequences for violating the laws:
During the meeting, Tudela said individuals suspected of engaging in prostitution in Garapan “are not afraid of police anymore.”

“They know that even if they're arrested, they'll be able to go back on the street,” said Tudela, and the others in the House chamber chuckled.

The police commissioner said individuals suspected of engaging in illegal activities “seem to be more afraid of Labor and Immigration officers” because they may be deported if they're found to be “overstayers” or working illegally.
So the real question is this - why are these violators not being prosecuted? Several people who have commented on this site have pointed out that a Japanese "yakuza" called Kimono Dragon operates some of the most notorious houses of prostitution (or clubs that offer prostitutes) within yards of the Garapan Police Station. Then there's the nearby hotel that makes a a sizable portion of business offering rooms to prostitutes and their mostly Japanese Johns. According to reports, every night dozens come and go. Anyone can see the prostitutes. In fact, last summer my high-school aged daughter commented on the number of prostitutes standing outside of clubs and soliciting on the same street corners every evening.

Could another reason that there is no lasting crackdown on prostitution be because of who some of the customers are? According to some club goers and former club workers those who frequent clubs and bars that offer prostitution include law enforcement officials, dignitaries, government employees including high level government officials and well-known businessmen.

See the post, Business as Usual, for information about the recent prostitution busts and the impact of Saipan prostitution on tourism.


cactus said...

So basically what you're saying is that people (alien workers, I might add) who have been arrested (for a non-violent offense, I might also add) are allowed by our courts to post bail and remain at liberty until they've actually been convicted of doing something illegal. And we're supposed to be outraged by that?

You've got to be kidding. Sure it frustrates the police to see this happen; police always find stuff like civil rights and due process frustrating. The true outrage, however, would be if these things were NOT observed by the courts, leaving the police to just "clean up" Garapan however they saw fit.

PS: You might want to double-check the reference to "Kimono Dragon." Much as I like that as the name of a hypothetical house of ill repute, I'm pretty sure it's not the name of the person you're referring to.

Wendy said...


Actually, I was asking hypothetical questions. Of course someone should be able to post bail. The question is are these cases being routinely thrown out? Do the offenders ever go to court? I have been told that many are "repeat offenders." Why wouldn't they be deported if they were aliens? If they are foreign workers, who is their employer/s?

Maybe the solution would be for the police to work with DOl and the OAG?

Thanks, I will check that out -I was quoting from past comments made on this site.

Wendy said...


Here are the links and the comments on Komodo Dragon that I referenced:

From the post Accused of fraud: CNMI attorneys sued:

Anonymous said...
We have a 1/2 dozen brothels within 300 meters of the Garapan police station, the Gov frequents them, they are operated by Kamodo the yakuza and Ms. Song the crazy Korean and no one ever gets busted.

From the post Tentative Ruling on Open Government Act request:

Anonymous said...
Saipan has Japanese Yakuza pimp named Komodo the Dragon that runs many brothels in Garapan involved in the sex trade industry.

If Homeland Security wanted to flex muscles here and help out the locals, they would deport the owner of Micronesia, Body Motion, Mermaids, and Happiness.

It would probably need to be a federal US government operation because insiders say Judge David Wiseman is a partner in this sleazy operation. Four brothels across the street from the police station and they are never popped.

How lucky.

captain said...

The prostitutes either carry $100 hidden away or they have arranged someone to post the bail in case they are picked up (10%of $1000)
Have you noticed that any other person that is picked up for a crime is not allowed to post bail until a bail hearing, the next business day (unless you are "somebody")Prostitutes and illegal. taxi driver are out in hours.(unless you have a connected name.

There are many Govt. officials involved in these particular illegal operations as well as many other "illegal" operations. Many of these are DOL and Immigration people along with the other people of authority.
Rumored many high ranking cops are involved also.

Nothing has or ever will be done as there will be no prosecution.
Many of these girls go back and forth to Tinian during the big "events" that draw "High Rollers".
The Casino has their "own" in house ladies for average of $350 a night +or-. ( They were moved out of the Casino Hotel a rented house owned by another "connected" family person)
The Saipan and Tinian girls are allowed to take excess "customers"

Remember a while back there was a problem with a bar owned and operated by high ranking from the Casino that was busted. Nothing happened to that after the initial thing was brought to light.

What ever happened to the "stolen gun from the police car from the cops house??
What is the status on the murder of the Guard from the High School?
Many other instances that take too much space to list.

EX; There have been "sting setups" involving FBI working with "local" counter parts to set up various Immigration officials. The few that have been caught , nothing has ever been prosecuted, most have been "tipped off" and nothing came down.

Why do you think there is so much concern about the Feds coming in and taking over Immigration and Labor.
This will cut into the immunity of the "illegals" under the protection of these "connected" and not so connected people are enjoying.
It will also, eventually put many cases into the Federal court.

Look at the actions of the AG office, listen to some of the lawyers that worked in the AG office that went on to Guam and elsewhere.
The AG office cannot even send a rep to this past meeting? Makes you wonder, and Baka is still "acting" AG although it was found to be illegal.

It will be interesting within the first year after the Fed take over to see what operations and who take a fall.

Anonymous said...

The hotel Wendy alludes to is Tan's La Fiesta that is said to be the biggest whore house in the CNMI. Read what Bowe wrote about Fitial's Orchids bar in his book "Nobodies." Back rooms and sex for sale. A Tinian Casino owner ran the Saipan bar Echoes that had a human trafficking victim. In the CNMI if you have money, a government job, or a title you get a free pass. In the real world you get locked up. Welcome feds!

Anonymous said...

How is a contract guest worker able to turn tricks with no legal employment or employer? They are from China and we have no garments left.

The labor department must have stopped operating.

Komodo is the pimp operating 4 clubs in Garapan and they never get bothered by the police because he is very tight with Jan Pan, Tan, Fitial, and Judge Wiseman.

Anonymous said...

I hope the US DOJ reads this blog!

USDOJ said...

We do, but we need information in order to investigate. If anyone has information to share, please call the FBI or the United States Attorney's Office.

Wendy said...


Please could you (or someone) post the Saipan contact numbers and/or email addresses for the DOJ and FBI here and I'll include them in the post too. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

From online:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)Tel 322-6934. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fax 322-6932. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .U.S. Attorney 236-2980. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fax 236-2945/236-2985

captain said...

This has been done in the past,(notifying the FBI) and like the recent "sting" operations, nothing will happen in the Local courts. And whenever you have the local undercover cops working with the Feds the "main" people will be warned off.
Nothing can be done unless these cases can get into Fed court. They can't unless there is a FEd law broken.
Illegal Taxi is local law and, last I knew Prostitution is a local law.
Probably until the Fed takeover much of this cannot be taken care of, and then maybe only under an Immigration or Fed labor regs.

Anonymous said...

Is that a Body Motion sign? Have they reopened? That was my favorite place!

Anonymous said...

The reason nothing is done is because you can't trust our leadership (Fitial reports to Tan), you can't trust our AG (Gregory and Baka report to Fitial), you can't trust our court system (besides, most attorneys are too conflicted to take action), our cops protect anyone paying them, and it will be an interesting first year after federalization.

Anonymous said...

The concept of an AG "reporting" to the chief executive is widely misunderstood. Yes, an AG is accountable for his performance to the appointing authority.

But a governor (or U.S. president) is NOT the attorney general. The AG exercises independent judgment. If the governor doesn't like it, his remedy is to fire the AG (or currently, simply appoint a new acting AG).

A governor cannot and does not perform the job of each department head. If anything, the OAG works closer with the FBI than the governor when it comes to law enforcement -- the prime example is the OAG's referral of the Villagomez case to the feds.

Yes, we need good, independent judges and AGs. Yes, there have been those in the past who do not hold the rule of law as their highest standard. But we should support, not attack, people like Rob Torres and Greg Baka who are willing to stand in the breach.

There is a reason a few legislators like to attack the OAG. It could be simple politics. It could also be fear of the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

to 8:46, what you say SHOULD be true, BUT, the past and present AG including Baka are all Fitials "yes" men. so nothing will work the way it is supposed to until the AG is elected and the past and present admins stop telling the AG office how to write their decisions.
Baka is still holding the position illegally as has been determined and will be replaced if he goes against the Gov, but he also was (is) involved with Tan along with a few others of the past.

Anonymous said...

Baka was a law clerk to Judge Munson for 2 years, Assistant Public Defender for 4-1/2 years, and Assistant U.S. Attorney for 6-1/2 years. He has nothing whatsoever to do with Willie Tan.

To the contrary, it has been determined by everyone who has studied the issue in depth that as Deputy AG he succeeded to the position as acting AG and exercises his service in full compliance with the law as currently written and the Demapan v. Kara decision.

There was a law passed by the Senate that would have had the effect of returning the CNMI to an AG-of-the-month situation like we had in the 1980s, but it was determined that such disorganization would be even worse than the present circumstances.

The legislature has not approved a constitutional amendment for an elected AG with the same salary as an Associate Judge and control of his or her own budget. The reason why not is subject to speculation. Some lawmakers may not want a strong AG because of recent or ongoing questionable back-room dealing. Others with gubernatorial aspirations would prefer to appoint a compliant AG of their own.

With popular pressure, we could have a constitutional amendment and an AG election on this November's ballot.

Anonymous said...

There was a bill passed by the Senate . . . .

Anonymous said...

Who owns Kimchi Cabana? That's where the Fitial inner circle lets off steam.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Song owns Kimchi Cabana, her husband, who was a pimp too, died about a year ago and the wife has taken command...and I doubt if it is steam they let off.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it is. Hot air is all they have left.