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Taste Tea owner busted for trying to smuggle $100K in underwear

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:29 p.m. HST, Jun 18, 2014

The owner of a popular cafe near Ala Moana Center is not going to jail for trying to smuggle $100,000 in cash out of the country, but he is losing the money.

A federal judge sentenced Yen Chang Su, 26, owner of Taste Tea, 1391 Kapiolani Blvd., to three years of probation Monday. 

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor also ordered Su to forfeit the $100,000 to the government.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer stopped Su at the Honolulu Airport last August as he was about to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Taiwan. The officer informed Su that federal law requires travelers to declare if they are carrying more than $10,000 in cash when they leave the country.

Su wrote on his declaration form that he was carrying $9,500. 

The officer conducted a pat down and found a lump around Su's waist. Su told the officer the lump was back support. When Su removed the "back support" the officer found four bundles of cash stashed in the front and three bundles in the back of Su's underwear.

Six of the seven bundles contained $15,000 in $100 U.S. currency bills. The seventh bundle contained $10,000 in $100 bills.

When he pleaded guilty last November, Su said he wrapped the money around his body in an attempt to smuggle it to Taiwan to avoid paying taxes.

Su is a citizen of Taiwan and is attending graduate school in California.

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Would-be cash smuggler sentenced to probation

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Anonymous wrote:
Hahahahaha. Paying the taxes would have been much cheaper! What's this guy gonna do? Claim his constitutional rights have been violated?? He has none. He's not an American!!!
on June 17,2014 | 07:03PM
makiki123 wrote:
It wasn't to avoid paying taxes. It was ill gotten money.
on June 17,2014 | 08:59PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
He stole it from Malia Obama and now Barry is after him for outflow of money, a fellow in Washington, D.C.
on June 18,2014 | 12:19AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
The United States Constitution is not an "Americans Only" document. It applies to everyone in the US. That's where the "endowed with unalienable rights by the creator" come in.
on June 18,2014 | 05:19AM
cojef wrote:
Yes you are right, the children crossing the Mexican border into Texas by the thousands from Central America is overwhelming the Customs officials there so they are busing and flying them to Arizona and California with a note, indicating that they have to report in 90 days for a hearing. As if they will show up??? Ask the AG Holder about them???
on June 18,2014 | 08:03AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
That's a problem of insecure boarders, not of our constitution.
on June 18,2014 | 10:27AM
sak wrote:
I thought that Honolulu Airport has a Body Scanner at the TSA Security Check Points, which would have exposed his smuggling activities?
on June 18,2014 | 04:04PM
geralddeheer wrote:
Maybe he should ask the Tea Party for help.
on June 17,2014 | 07:05PM
Gene_Park wrote:
This comment wins.
on June 17,2014 | 07:28PM
Slow wrote:
See Gene, they aren't ALL maroons commenting on SA. Most but not all. I almost bypassed this one until you called it my attention. Yep. Winner.
on June 17,2014 | 08:34PM
BuhByeAloha wrote:
on June 18,2014 | 06:11AM
HD36 wrote:
Slow, it's obvious you're a government employee, backing democrats, and big government.
on June 18,2014 | 07:07AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Gene want u been up to, not writing for HSA?
on June 18,2014 | 12:20AM
HD36 wrote:
Liberal kool aid drinkers think they know what the Tea Party stands for from their favorite government channels.
on June 18,2014 | 07:06AM
HD36 wrote:
What could they have done?
on June 17,2014 | 09:58PM
IAmSane wrote:
I don't know, but: Benghazi.
on June 17,2014 | 10:18PM
HD36 wrote:
Why would they? They stand for the Constitutional rights and civil liberties of American citizens.
on June 18,2014 | 07:03AM
Pocho wrote:
Send him back to Taiwan. Broke the Law I'd be in the slammer right now if I was caught li dat.
on June 17,2014 | 07:13PM
Wazdat wrote:
Wow sure are some D U M B people in this state
on June 17,2014 | 07:36PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Someone dropped a dime. Now this guy will never be able to just walk onto a flight again. Crime doesn't pay.
on June 18,2014 | 12:15AM
inlanikai wrote:
The article says he declared $9500 on his customs declaration. That was the red flag. He should just left blank.
on June 18,2014 | 07:47AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
You saw that too huh? What a ding-a-ling. Then again, if he were smart he would have just did the right thing. Be a man, Yen Chang Su!
on June 18,2014 | 02:36PM
false wrote:
all that money wasn't from taste tea... what is he doing
on June 18,2014 | 01:00AM
inverse wrote:
Like that restaurant owner who got caught laundering gambling money, possibly either gambling or drugs where his tea shop is just a front for his other business. How long has this Taiwanese been in Hawaii and maybe this was not the first time he smuggled large amounts of cash out of the country but this is the first time he got caught. Is his tea shop that lucrative and as a 26 yr old grad student with bills where would he get so much cash?
on June 18,2014 | 03:47AM
atilter wrote:
oooo - casts a bad reflection on taiwanese people! they probably will deal with him when he gets home.
on June 18,2014 | 01:34AM
HD36 wrote:
The fool could have bought an investment grade diamond here, and sold it when he got to Taiwan. He could have bought a second hand Rolex Daytona, white gold watch, a second hand tiffany Atlas white gold ring, a second hand platinum chain, and a white gold bracelet, from E-bay. Walked onto the plane like Gangman, and sell it all back avoiding the retail markup. As far as I know the government doesn't have restrictions on what kind of watch, chain, or jewelry you can wear leaving the country.
on June 18,2014 | 07:13AM
Ewasohappy wrote:
They are working on it.
on June 18,2014 | 09:15AM
ready2go wrote:
Doesn't deserve to live in America. Immigrants are given the opportunity to make a better life in the US but become criminals should be deported.
on June 18,2014 | 08:22AM
4sanitysake wrote:
US Customs should have seized the money, put him on the plane, and process a "NOT ALLOWED TO RE-ENTER US" alert to save taxpayers from having to pay for legal expenses. Criminal activity = no VISA.
on June 18,2014 | 09:06AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Have you thought of running for public office? =)
on June 18,2014 | 02:38PM
iwanaknow wrote:
this guy was one smart one til he got caught..................the USA just got 100K free money.
on June 18,2014 | 09:28AM
sloturle wrote:
they never took the money
on June 18,2014 | 08:43PM
Mei mei wrote:
more foreigners getting the best of US/Hawaii... when are the "local" people going to benefit!??
on June 18,2014 | 09:43AM
juscasting wrote:
Thank you Mr. Su, I've learned a very valuable lesson on your misfortune: Mr. Su say, " Neva smuggle mo den hundrad thousand dolla at wun time, instead smuggle little, lilttle, sqoushi less den Ten thousand dolla at wun time, betta fo u!
on June 18,2014 | 01:19PM
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