EXCLUSIVE: Oakland business owner reflects on hate crimes, racially-motivated attacks in Chinatown

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Hate crimes take toll on businesses in Oakland's Chinatown
Merchants in Oakland's Chinatown have dealt with a number of robberies, attacks and vandalism in recent months.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Merchants in Oakland's Chinatown have dealt with a number of robberies, attacks and vandalism in recent months. Now, according to Oakland police, a woman has been arrested for a hate crime. A number of people who spoke with ABC7 say they were targeted by her racially-motivated assaults.

One business owner at 9th and Broadway who wants to be identified only at "Wayne" shared video of a brazen attack from earlier in August. A woman is seen on surveillance video throwing a bottle at him. Wayne grabs a folding chair to shield himself while two customers nearby say the woman tried to grab their glasses. A woman who requested we not use her name says she was spat on, hit and called an "Asian bitch." Wayne says the woman demanded he and others "go back to China".

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Wayne reflected on the past 20 years at his shop and says he's never seen anything quite like this in the area before with such frequency.

"Robberies every week, car break-ins every day. A lot of things changing here," he said.

Oakland's Chinatown has had it's share of criminal activity in recent months, including the high-profile shooting of a bystander who intervened on a robbery. Many businesses have resorted to closing early, according to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

Wayne said his business has been affected along with the spa next door which is boarded up along with other storefronts.

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Two couples, targeted in a daytime robbery in Oakland's Chinatown that turned into a shooting are thanking a Good Samaritan for his quick actions.

"Half the footsteps now. People get scared," he said.

ABC7 News learned the suspect seen in the surveillance video has a criminal history dating back to at least late 2020. She was arrested for incidents ranging from vandalism to the most recent of assault likely to produce great bodily injury. Victims and sources told ABC7 the woman was put on a 51-50 mental health hold, which is why ABC7 has chosen to blur her face.

Wayne said he wishes there was a place for her to get the help she needs.

While the Alameda County District Attorney's Office doesn't comment on pending cases, ABC7 asked about what's being done to help those who commit crimes and suffer from mental health issues.

A new navigation center launched early this year aims to provide services, but participation is voluntary unless the crime is severe enough.

Assistant District Attorney and Head Of Mental Health Unit, L.D. Louis said their office makes recommendations to attorneys and families to advocate participation.

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"It's reaching out to work collaboratively with our public health partners in hopes that the individual might be assessed suitable for some of the involuntary services," said Lewis.

In the meantime, Wayne will continue to add to his collection of store surveillance cameras, which now stands at 16. It's all in an effort to keep his shop and community safe.