Chinatown vendors say cops harass them - KMSP-TV

Chinatown vendors say cops harass them

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Many legal street vendors in Chinatown say the cops are giving them a hard time. They say they have been arrested on minor violations.

Yueying Wong sells bamboo plants on a tiny stand on Canal Street in Chinatown. Police arrested the licensed vendor in April when she sold a bamboo plant and included a plastic flower and free plant food. She said he heart hurts from the experience.

Chun Yin works a nearby vendor stand with her invalid husband Chi Fei Chang. Only Chang has a vendor license. His wife has been arrested 11 times for working their stand -- the only income for the couple and their 9- and 11-year-old sons. She has been handcuffed and jailed overnight 5 times. Since 2007, they and then-City Councilman Alan Gerson wrote letters to the Department of Consumer Affairs requesting a license transfer to Yin. The department has no record of the letters.

Yin says she cannot depend on the government for support so she must do what she has to for her family.

Frankie and Tam Feng both have vendor licenses for their Chinatown fruit stand. On Chinese New Year, she was arrested for selling traditional New Year's flowers, as they have for 15 years. Frankie believes police are targeting legal Chinatown vendors because they cannot catch the mobile counterfeiters selling illegal bags on Canal Street.

The police arresting the vendors are from the Quality of Life Unit housed in Tribeca. Quality of Life has been credited with dropping the crime rate in New York because people who would hop a subway turnstile often had criminal records. But these vendors did not have criminal records until now.

Community activist Don Lee is organizing the vendors who have demonstrated before Community Board 2. He said the cops are targeting vendors for questionable issues.

Attorney Julia Kuan is considering a class action lawsuit against the police and Manhattan district attorney. She said the vendors often don't speak English well and also don't understand the justice system and are afraid of it.

We did not get a comment from the NYPD when this story was broadcast.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:52:57 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:42:50 GMT
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
  • 5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:55:21 GMT
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices