Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Feds target "Asian" crime enterprises in Orange County

The Orange County Register reports on a move by authorities in Westminster to set up a Federally-funded bureau in that municipality's Little Saigon (this Little Saigon) that is aimed at fighting DVD piracy, human trafficking, and drug crime:
The new bureau, which opened in February, is tucked away behind a Vietnamese seafood restaurant, on Magnolia Street.

It doesn't have large signage – just the police department's emblem on its glass door. But the station's unobtrusiveness works to its advantage, said Sgt. Dan Schoonmaker, who heads a team of three detectives, an FBI agent and two part-time investigators based in the Little Saigon bureau.

"We deliberately didn't want to be on Bolsa because a lot of people know each other," he said. "We want this to be a safe haven for community members so they feel comfortable enough to come down here and talk to us."
The OCR — and presumably the Westminster Police — are being careful not to refer to Vietnamese crime, although Little Saigon is the center of the Vietnamese community. But it wouldn't be fair to single out Vietnamese as the sole group involved in such crimes in Orange County, where criminal activity is conducted by all races and all ethnic groups. Garden Grove's Koreatown is not far away, and I wouldn't be surprised if this Federally-funded program reaches out across the city limits to similar activities that may be going on along Garden Grove Boulevard.

What I found particularly interesting is that the DVD piracy is not aimed at helping US producers so much: they are targeting Vietnamese-language titles and Vietnamese-captioned titles from Korea and Chinese-speaking countries.

[above: I have no idea what this says, but it looks sort of ominous to me, like they're going to hang people who come in and report credit card fraud. Despite the existence of bilingual officers, I'm not sure that will help.]

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