Some Chinese takeout operators in Philadelphia face grave dangers as they try to eke out a living in some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. They find themselves outsiders, isolated by language and cultural barriers, easy targets for criminals. One of them responded by shutting himself in, almost never leaving his store or upstairs apartment. “It is a prison,” he said.
One victim showed police officers he was carrying two large rolls of cash in front pockets of his shorts. Criminals “know they travel with that kind of money,” said an officer. Some takeout owners add to tensions with residents by choosing to sell “blunt” cigars – which are bought mainly for drug use – and “loose” cigarettes to minors, and by ignoring a city ordinance that requires shops in residential neighborhoods to close by 11 p.m. “It’s killing their business,” said Chief Inspector James Tiano, police liaison to the Asian community. But, he added, “I can see the reason for the ordinance.”