Oakland Chinatown suffers 2 robberies in 2 days, bystander who intervenes is pistol-whipped

A street in Oakland, Calif.’s Chinatown saw two robberies in two consecutive days last week, stoking fears in a community that has suffered anti-Asian attacks for months.

July 15: The first incident, on the 200 block of 9th Street, occurred at 3:15 p.m. on July 15. Two male suspects targeted an Asian man in his 50s who was walking with a cane.

  • The victim was standing on the roadside when the suspects approached him. One carried a black handgun with an extended magazine, Oakland police said.
  • The suspects took the man’s belongings by force. The armed individual pistol-whipped the victim.
  • A witness who tried to intervene was also pistol-whipped. After the attack, the suspects fled in a getaway vehicle with a third individual and headed eastbound on 9th Street.
  • The victims described the suspects as males in their 20s. The armed suspect stands between 5 feet and 10 inches and 6 feet, weighs between 180 and 200 pounds, and wore a black hoodie, red shirt, black pants and black shoes.
  • The second suspect is reported to be of the same height, weighs between 160 and 180 pounds, and wore a white hoodie, white pants and black shoes. No information has been released about the individual in the getaway vehicle.

July 16: The second robbery occurred just 30 feet away from the first incident before noon on July 16. This time, three suspects targeted a Chinese mother and daughter.

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  • Aiwon Woo, in her 80s, told KPIX 5 that the robbers hit her and her daughter in the head. The suspects took their purses when they fell on the ground.
  • The trio reportedly jumped out of a four-door Lexus sedan that had no license plate. However, the description of the suspects, as well as a fourth individual in the getaway vehicle, matched those of a crew involved in other robberies reported in North Oakland and Emeryville that same Friday, KPIX 5 noted.

 

Concerns raised: Community members have vocalized concerns after the brazen attacks, which were both caught on surveillance videos from the adjacent Chinese Independent Baptist Church.

  • Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, has been flooded with calls from concerned residents. “[They were] saying how upset they feel and how angry they are and saying our community is being attacked,” he told KGO.
  • Chan himself fell victim to an attack in late April, which left him with bruises and a scraped knee. He said someone attacked him from behind, yelled a racial slur and then hit him in the head.
  • “We have an increase of about 53% of robberies throughout the whole city. And we also have an increase of 91% of carjackings,” Mae Phu, an Oakland Chinatown liaison police officer said. “So a lot of our resources are going to every single thing we can.”

Police have not determined a connection between last week’s robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (510) 238-3326.

Featured Image via @DaKPIX (left), KPIX 5 (right)

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