Crimes against Philadel­phia Chi­nese—Amer­i­cans protested

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

Hun­dreds of peo­ple from Chi­ne­seAmer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties in Philadel­phia and sur­round­ing ar­eas held a march and rally Satur­day to protest crime and vi­o­lence tar­get­ing their com­mu­ni­ties.

De­mon­stra­tors at the rally in Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall were es­pe­cially protest­ing re­cent armed home in­va­sion rob­beries of busi­ness own­ers in the city, The Philadel­phia In­quir­erre­ported.

Pro­test­ers, some car­ry­ing signs that read “Stop Armed Rob­beries in our Com­mu­nity,” also ex­pressed anger about a rap song and video with lyrics about scop­ing out homes in Chi­nese neigh­bor­hoods to com­mit bur­glar­ies.

Speak­ers called on po­lice to pa­trol more around Asian-owned busi­nesses and take even low-level crimes against such firms more se­ri­ously so that they don’t es­ca­late into more se­ri­ous crimes.

City Coun­cil­man David Oh, who is Korean-Amer­i­can, said he has called for an Oct. 31 Coun­cil hear­ing on crimes of vi­o­lence that tar­get Chi­nese busi­ness own­ers, par­tic­u­larly restau­rant own­ers. He said he ex­pects rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the FBI, the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, po­lice and other com­mu­nity lead­ers to at­tend.

The Rev. Robert Shine, 77, of Ber­achah Bap­tist Church in East Ger­man­town, who is black, said he rec­og­nized that many such crimes have been com­mit­ted by mem­bers of the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity.

“All of us to­gether, in the city of Philadel­phia, must stand arm-in-arm, handin-hand to op­pose any act of vi­o­lence,” said Shine, who also con­demned as “rep­re­hen­si­ble” the “hardcore rap mu­sic that ad­vo­cates vi­o­lence.”

A po­lice cap­tain then joined the de­mon­stra­tors — who also came from New Jersey, New York and Delaware — as they marched to Philadel­phia’s Chi­na­town neigh­bor­hood, shout­ing “No more vi­o­lence!” and “We want safety!”

Rally or­ga­nizer Steven Zhu, pres­i­dent of the Greater Philadel­phia Fu­jian As­so­ci­a­tion and gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Greater Philadel­phia Chi­nese Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion, said there had been a rash of rob­beries of Chi­nese Amer­i­can busi­ness own­ers in July and Au­gust.

Dur­ing one month, a dozen fam­i­lies were robbed, and last year more than 100 Chi­nese-Amer­i­can fam­i­lies or small busi­nesses in Philadel­phia were vic­tims of armed rob­beries, he said.

Coun­cil­man Mark Squilla, whose dis­trict in­cludes Chi­na­town, urged busi­ness own­ers to in­stall surveil­lance cam­eras for their safety. A city pro­gram re­im­burses el­i­gi­ble busi­ness own­ers for part of the costs to ob­tain and in­stall se­cu­rity cam­eras.

“All of us to­gether, in the city of Philadel­phia, must stand arm-in­arm, hand-in-hand to op­pose any act of vi­o­lence.” — Rev. Robert Shine, of Ber­achah Bap­tist Church in East Ger­man­town

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