NOVEMBER 2002

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Chinese Deliverymen Become New Targets For Robbery
From World Journal
October 17, 2002

By Chang Hui-yu

Chinese deliverymen have become the new targets for robbery and assaults. Another victim was added to the list the other day when a Chinese deliveryman was murdered in Brooklyn while at work. Some of his fellow deliverymen were shocked and worried by the news but said they have no other choice and will continue working no matter how dangerous it may be.

Mr. Chen, who runs a Chinese take-out restaurant in Midtown, said that seniority does make a difference in the delivery business. Most deliverymen who work in the troubled areas are the newly arrived. Most high-end Chinese restaurants in Midtown will not hire them because of their limited abilities, forcing them to go to other places where they can make a living. Those who had encountered trouble are mostly the recently arrived immigrants.

Chen Ping, a native of Fujian Province in China, was robbed by two African-Americans in the Bronx while out on a delivery two months ago, and ended up with injuries on his face, arms, and waist. He said he was robbed at least eight times in the past three years and the incident two months ago was the most serious. However, he said he could not find another job because of his lack of skills.

Chen added that robbers have been increasingly violent in recent months. One or two years ago most robbers would not be armed, but now they use knives and guns, he said. Many Chinese restaurants are now asking for phone numbers when taking orders and will call to reconfirm the orders before sending out deliverymen.

Chen also said he is extra cautious when he delivers to troubled areas and would not take any risk and would leave if he sees any suspicious people.

Meanwhile, the police have been calling on deliverymen to report to the police when they are robbed. But many deliverymen said it is of no use.

Another deliveryman, surnamed Cao, said the police would come to the restaurant to gather information but they rarely catch the robbers.

"The American law is too loose," Cao said. "The robbers are usually quickly released and start robbing again."

Last year a Chinese take-out restaurant owner in the Bronx defended himself in a robbery with an unlicensed gun. The robbers were injured but the owner was not prosecuted.

But many deliverymen said that having a weapon for self-defense is not necessarily a good idea. First of all, it is illegal and sometimes it might be more dangerous if the weapon is turned against them. Most said it is better not to fight with the robbers and just let them take whatever they want. Staying alive is the most important thing.

Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung


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