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

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:29 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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