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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Man denies running a gambling operation

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 42-year-old man pleaded not guilty yesterday to federal charges of running a racketeering gambling operation.

Kai Ming Wang also will ask for a separate trial from codefendants charged with a 2004 double murder at the Pali Golf Course, Wang's lawyer Reginald Minn said at his client's arraignment.

Wang, also known as "A Fook," is accused of operating a gambling operation from 1999 to 2004.

His co-defendants include Rodney Joseph Jr., Kevin A. Gonsalves and Ethan Motta, who are accused of being part of the illegal enterprise and also are accused of murdering two men and wounding at third at the golf course in January 2004.

Joseph and Gonsalves pleaded not guilty to the federal charges yesterday. Motta pleaded not guilty on Friday.

All four are being held without bail in the federal case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi scheduled the trial for the week of Oct. 24.

The federal trial date comes after the state's prosecution over the golf course shooting against Joseph, Gonsalves and Motta, who are scheduled to go on trial in August.

If convicted, the three face a sentence of up to life in prison without parole in the state court. Hawai'i law does not authorize the death penalty.

In the federal case, federal prosecutors must make an internal recommendation to the U.S. attorney general, who will determine whether to seek the death penalty against the three men. Wang is not charged in the federal murder counts and doesn't face the potential of capital punishment.

A fifth man charged with participating in the racketeering operation also pleaded not guilty yesterday. Siaosi Alapati is free on a signature bond.

Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.