Pierce County prosecutors have charged three people with illegally buying geoduck without a license after an investigation by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The charges were filed earlier this month. Kwang Mo Lee, 52, and Myung Chul Lee, 48, have been charged with seven counts each of engaging in fish dealing activity without a license. Kluok Chan, 33, has been charged with five counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.
Kwang Lee was the store manager at Pal Do World, a business involved in wholesale and retail food sales. The business has stores in Lakewood and Federal Way.
Pal Do World was licensed as a wholesale fish dealer in 2006 and 2007 but the license was not valid last year and this year.
Charging documents allege employees of Pal Do World twice bought geoduck from undercover detectives. One purchase involved 200 pounds of geoduck; the other involved 300 pounds.
Each time, the employees paid under-market value for the geoduck from the detectives. Court documents allege the company didn’t have the proper paperwork.
Prosecutors allege Chan was working for a seafood company and selling geoduck to Pal Do World when he wasn’t authorized to sell it.
“Chan admitted to selling geoduck for personal gain,” charging documents state. “Chan believed he sold skimmed geoduck to Pal Do World about ten times.”
During an interview with detectives, Kwang Lee said he didn’t have a wholesale fish dealer’s license but bought the geoduck anyway because “the store was temporarily without geoduck and geoduck was very popular.”