'We're on alert': Volunteers arm Oakland Chinatown business owners with air horns for safety

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Volunteers give Oakland Chinatown merchants air horns for safety
Volunteers are fanning out, distributing airhorns to Chinatown business owners, many who have been the victim of violent crime.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a new effort to help end violence against Asian Americans in the East Bay.

Volunteers are giving business owners a new tool for protection, one that's bound to attract a lot of attention.

It could be the newest weapon against rising crime in Oakland's Chinatown Community and a warning: it's incredibly loud.

Volunteers are fanning out, distributing air horns to Chinatown business owners, many who have been the victim of violent crime. Asian American seniors have also been targeted just walking down the street.

VIDEO: Shocking video shows elderly man pushed to ground in Oakland

Shocking new video coming out of Oakland's Chinatown showing a man senselessly pushed to the ground has the community on high alert.

"If there's trouble, press the button people will come help you that's what we're hoping," said Cheryl Ho.

Ho from the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce demonstrated the horn for Jeweler Lein Le, she's been robbed more than once.

"That's why we close the door, have a wall, terrible very sad," said Li.

"Criminals don't like sound or attention," said Ray Tong.

The air horns were the idea of Milpitas construction Contractor Ray Tong who was disgusted by the ongoing hate crimes. He raised $6,000 in private donations to buy more than 400 of the ear piercing gadgets which he hopes will be an alert to all in the community.

RELATED: 'Condemning violence': Oakland Chinatown rally draws large crowd

"There's a network we're trying to create so that people know to take our cameras and start filming and that's what's going to help law enforcement," said Tong.

Business owners are being asked to post these flyers, warning potential crooks about the airhorn network.

So far, feedback has been positive.

"We want to make sure our community knows we're on alert and don't want any more criminal activity anymore," said Ho.

RELATED: Oakland police chief urges Chinatown residents not to arm themselves

Retired banker Joy Wang says she had had to do some thing to stop the senseless attacks.

"We don't want to be violent or pick a fight or have a gun we just want to demonstrate that we're not going to put up with up with this," Wang.

Organizers plan to donate 50 smaller air horns to Oakland Chinatown citizen patrols to help stop the violence.