April Issue: LA Riots, In Our Own Words
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 29th, 2012
Filed Under: April 2012 , Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE
« (previous post)
(next post) »

A view of Vermont Avenue in Koreatown, with smoke clouds in the background. ©HYUNGWON KANG

SAIGU: AN ORAL HISTORY

KoreAm retraces the days and nights of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a defining event in Korean America’s collective history.

by EUGENE YI
additional interviews by K.W. Lee, Julie Ha, John H. Lee, Paula Daniels, Alex Ko, Katherine Yungmee Kim, Sophia Kim and Emily Kim

The events of April 29, 1992, have been referred to as a riot, a rebellion, an uprising, a civil unrest. For many Koreans, it’s always been 4.29, following the standard cultural shorthand for the dates of historic tragedies. Yet over the past 20 years, the primary narrative of 4.29 has rarely included Korean American perspectives beyond stereotyped notions of victims or vigilantes. This oral history seeks to rectify that in some small measure, and to give those who didn’t witness the traumatic days and nights of fires, chaos and violence a sense of what Korean Americans went through. The events, after all, have been referred to by some as the birth of Korean America, a characterization that isn’t far off.

In the period leading up to 4.29, the mainstream media had fed the public a series of stories on the rising tensions in South Central Los Angeles between African American residents and the Korean merchant class that had become a fixture there. Then, in March 1991, Soon Ja Du, a Korean immigrant storeowner, shot and killed Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old African American customer, following a violent scuffle between the two at Du’s South Central liquor store, worsening an already strained situation. Just 13 days earlier, the brutal beating of African American motorist Rodney King by four white Los Angeles Police Department officers vividly demonstrated the iron-fisted tactics under then-Chief Daryl Gates. The social, economic and political structures seemed aligned to oppress, and the city waited uneasily on April 29, 1992, for the verdict in the excessive force case against the police officers who beat King.

(Editor’s Note: The titles of subjects in the narrative reflect their age and status in April 1992. Organization names are based on what they were called in 1992. *Quotes indicated by asterisks were translated from Korean.)

 April 29, Wednesday

I. RIPE TO EXPLODE

JET LEE
Owner of a liquor store in Compton

In everybody’s mind, it was ripe. To be explode. [My customers] were telling me, “Be careful.” One of my customers  came [the] day before 4.29 and said, “Don’t stay open too late tomorrow. And listen to the radio, what they gonna say about the verdict.”

RAPHAEL HONG
UCLA student

Even before the verdicts came out, some younger blacks were coming in [to my parents’ toy store in an Inglewood swap meet] and saying, [if the LAPD officers are found not guilty,] “You guys better leave this town or else you guys are going to be in trouble.” Everybody [in my family] was already tense and kind of worried, so what they did was  lose the doors early, and they went home.

BONG HWAN KIM
Executive director of the Korean Youth Center

I’d been involved in [a community group called the Black-Korean Alliance] for two years prior to Saigu. So the day of  the verdicts, we all knew everybody was just waiting.

EDWARD CHANG
Ethnic studies professor, Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly was having an inauguration ceremony for their new president in the afternoon, and when it was over I walked into my office, and that’s when the telephone rang. On the other line was a reporter from a Korean newspaper, and she asked me, “What do you think?” “What do you mean what do I think?” And she said, “Not guilty.” “Wow. It’s going to be a major problem.”

II. ACQUITTED

At 3:15 p.m., three of the LAPD officers were acquitted, and one was partially acquitted. Unruly crowds chanted “No justice, no peace!” around Parker Center, LAPD’s headquarters, as well as the courthouse where the verdict was issued, and the intersection of Florence and Normandie, in South Central Los Angeles. Violence erupted. Mobs dragged motorists out of their cars and beat them. Looting began.

JAY LEE*
Owner of a furniture store on Florence and Normandie

[Crowds swarmed his store, and he hid in the attic with his co-workers.]

They broke glass table tops, carried off ensembles, capped off gunshots. I could see it all from my vantage point. … It was incredible. I told [my wife] to close up [her clothing] shop and go home. “Call the police and tell them we are trapped.” … We hid for three hours while people laughed and stole and rioted. That whole time, I kept thinking the police were coming.

HYUNGWON KANG
Photographer, Los Angeles Times, South Bay bureau

I distinctly remember hearing the LAPD police scanner telling all LAPD patrol vehicles to evacuate the intersection of Florence and Normandie. They were no longer engaged in controlling or restoring order. They were ordering their officers to evacuate for their own safety.

JET LEE
Compton merchant

When I heard that the verdict [was] not guilty, I said, “Shit.” Excuse my language, that’s exactly what I said. I had a kind of fear it might happen like this. I called all my relatives to get the hell out of there. I closed my store down, and on the way home, I heard the news that [at] Normandie and Florence, [an] incident was going on.

HYUNGWON KANG
Photographer

Someone hit my right rear window with a beer bottle. I was on Florence, going eastbound. The intersection was messy with debris rioters threw on the pavement. Shortly afterwards, other people on the sidewalk also started walking towards my car. As I was pulling away from the intersection, there was a call for help on the company radio—[Times photographer] Kirk McCoy was stranded, away from his car.

After receiving Kirk’s location from [photographer] Bob Chamberlin, I had to re-enter the intersection to get to Kirk.

Looters were all over the road, blocking moving traffic and carrying boxes of liquor from the liquor store at the intersection. My car was again struck with beer bottles, two or three times. One looter pointed a finger at me and started chasing me. I drove on the opposite side of the road, went through the red light and outran the guy.

RICHARD CHOI*
Announcer for Radio Korea, L.A.’s main Korean language station

I left work at 5 p.m. My home was in Pacific Palisades, so I took the 10 West, and I was listening to KFWB [an English language news station], and I heard a violent protest was starting. So I turned around and went back to work.

RAPHAEL HONG
UCLA student

My mother called [me at my apartment in West L.A.] and asked, “Is it going to really affect the business?” You know, she was really getting worried because that’s basically their livelihood. Both of [my parents] were working at the shop. I told them, “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure the National Guard will come—already they were talking about the National Guard [the first day of the riots]. So I told them, “Don’t worry about it.”

JIN-MOO CHUNG
Grocer and swap meet owner, South Central L.A.

Some guys, maybe four or five guys, they got a bat, some sticks. [They] suddenly came in and [started] breaking up all the glass, everything. We didn’t know why. [At the] time, we didn’t know.

DOROTHY PIRTLE
11-year-old South Central resident

I felt unsafe in my own house. Looters were throwing homemade firebombs into the windows of our local shops, taking everything from diapers and bottled water to shoes and stereos. From my room, I could hear glass shattering, people shouting, “No justice, no peace!” At first the sound of sirens answered the noise, and I held faith that someone was going to stop the chaos from enveloping us all. But when the sirens stopped blaring outside my window and I could no longer see police cars driving down Slauson Avenue, I knew that everything was beyond wrong.

BONG HWAN KIM
Korean Youth Center

The mayor had organized a town hall meeting in a black church in South L.A. And so I got together with a few folks working on the Black-Korean Alliance, and we drove down there. We started getting worried that it was packed, that there was no way we were going to get in. It was a good thing that we didn’t try to get closer because I heard later that people outside were actually beating up Koreans trying to get into the church.

III. SMOKE

JIN-MOO CHUNG*
Grocer, swap meet owner

A phone call came in from a friend. They said, “Hurry and close up. Riots have started.” So I did, and I told everyone from the swap meet to go home. I stayed, though. It wasn’t just my merchandise, but other people’s as well, and if the riots came, they would burn everything down. I stayed there, to try and do everything I could.

A fire rages near Manchester Avenue and Broadway in South Los Angeles. ©HYUNGWON KANG

RICHARD CHOI*
Announcer, Radio Korea

Around 7 p.m., we started to get phone calls. Someone saying that “I’m at such and such intersection, a crowd of black people are gathering in the front of my store, and they seem threatening. What would be the best thing to do?” Before long, we thought, “Let’s just go live with the phone calls.” Because we started receiving too many phone calls. And because, for the Korean people listening to the broadcast, we needed to let them know what was happening. So we put callers on live, so they could say, “Something is happening. Be careful, be careful.”

RAPHAEL HONG
UCLA student

I’m [in my apartment] watching the news. My parents are watching at [their] home, and we were just communicating over the phone. Helicopters are flying over, and you see the burning buildings [on TV]. They flew by our [swap meet] building, you know, and, oh my God. That’s the swap meet. Some guy came, like a year before, and painted all the items that they sell in the swap meet. It says, “Inglewood Swap Meet,” and there was a hat, a jacket and toys and all kinds of stuff painted on there. I knew that was our building because of the painted walls. My parents kind of went into shock. They saw the building, and they lost everything. My father wanted to go to the store, and I said, “No way. Don’t get out of the house. Stay where you are. Don’t even go near L.A.”

I felt kind of guilty that I told them [earlier not to worry]. I said it because I believed it, first of all, and second, because I wanted them to relax because I was worried about their health. But once [the swap meet burned down], I felt really guilty. I shouldn’t have told them that.

JET LEE
Compton merchant

We came home, all my family got together and [was] watching TV. About 7 o’clock, my alarm company called. My father’s alarm company called. Everybody’s alarm company called. They said [they] got alarm going off. But we didn’t go because we knew what was going on. I called my employee, because he lives right across the street. And he was giving me eyewitness news on the phone. He said they started looting it, breaking [into] the store. A couple hours later he called me— it’s on fire.

JAY LEE
Furniture store owner

Somebody lit a bunk bed display on fire. Smoke choked me. I couldn’t see anything. I looked out and saw the house next door in flames. The display mattresses I left outside had been used as kindling. I just ran for my life. I told the first officer I saw, “There are two men trapped in my building. Help them!” The officer didn’t move. I ran to the next man and told him the same thing. I got the same non-response. I went to the next and the next. I begged five officers to do something. But nothing. Had I been able to speak English better, I would have told them to have courage.

SCOTT LEE
Student, El Camino Real High School

We were on the 101 Hollywood Freeway South when my friend, Rosa, pointed out that there was smoke coming out of L.A.

EMILE MACK
Firefighter

[My fiancée and I] were heading home, toward the evening, leaving downtown Los Angeles, heading down the Harbor Freeway. I looked off to our right, which would be looking west toward South Central Los Angeles, and I saw a column of smoke. And being a firefighter, I kind of went, “Hey. Hey. They have a fire.” And I said, “OK,” and we kept on going down the freeway. And then I saw another column of smoke.

IV. CHAOS

SCOTT LEE
Student, El Camino Real High School

The bus driver, Mr. Scott, told everyone to close his or her window. I dreaded getting off the bus. Two Hispanic gangsters rocked a big wooden platform, back and forth, until finally launching it through the glass window of a department store. A dozen or so people rushed in to ransack the now-open store. We arrived at my drop-off area, two blocks away from my house. As I exited, I tried to keep my head down and walked as fast as I could. It seemed like the longest two blocks I’d ever walked. People were throwing bottles at cars that were passing by. A guy got the crap beat out of him, and a dozen or so bystanders did nothing to help him. I passed the Radio Shack, movie theater, furniture stores. I turned the corner and saw a throng of about 400 people going in and out of the alley right behind my house.

©HYUNGWON KANG

The Los Angeles Fire Department received more than 5,000 structure fire calls during the riots. © HYUNGWON KANG


© HYUNGWON KANG

JIN-MOO CHUNG

I was watching [people loot] from the second floor, and these people were not from the neighborhood. They were people I didn’t know. … I wanted to keep them from setting [the building] on fire, so I went down, with my gun, and I warned [them, in English], “OK, everybody, you taking all the merchandise, OK, no problem. OK? Don’t shoot. Don’t fire …” Then from somewhere, they shot me. Bullets, bang, bang, bang, they came in. And I was going to shoot, too. But that moment, I thought, “No. Don’t shoot. You’re not going to take a life away.” And, so—ach! I tossed my gun aside and fell to the floor.

SGT. LISA PHILLIPS
Los Angeles Police Department

We had a rescue. She was Asian, trying to get home. A crowd had surrounded her car and started beating her. When we got there, her car was encircled by rioters, two, three, four hundred people, people screaming, cars on fire, people trying to grab drivers out of their cars, running with TVs. We aimed the patrol car at the crowd, and people scattered. All but two: one guy on the hood had a two-by-four and was smashing in the windshield, and another guy had her by the shirt and was just pounding her. We ran up to her car. My partner, Dan Nee, grabbed her—she was bloody, strapped in with her seatbelt. We thought she was already dead.

We were running back to the car when my partner gets hit with a rock and goes down into the street. The woman goes flying out of his arms, and the crowd laughed. That is one thing I will never forget. The crowd spontaneously burst into laughter. It was hard not to let your anger go. As we were driving away this piece of concrete came flying through the car, completely exploding the window.

BONG HWAN KIM

I could never have anticipated that LAPD would just lose control like that. You assume that they’re ready. But they had no idea. Absolutely no plan to respond to the verdicts.

JIN-MOO CHUNG

Someone came in, and I thought it was more looters. But I looked, and they said, “Here!” And as I opened my eyes, I saw them. The police in riot gear. They said that someone had reported I had been shot. So the police raised my leg and said, “Don’t move.” They checked my pulse and said, “No problem.” They paged an ambulance for 40 or 50 minutes, and the ambulance didn’t come. And what’s supposed to happen to me then? My blood had all flown out.

RICHARD CHOI
Radio Korea

As 7 p.m. became 8, the phone lines were jammed. We just took the calls in the order they came in. No one was screening calls. We just answered the phone. So, as the broadcast kept going, we stopped airing ads, too.

ED CHANG

You began to see “This is a Black-Owned Store” signs everywhere to prevent rioters and looters from attacking their stores.

ANGELA OH
Criminal defense attorney, civil rights advocate

It was very specific to Koreans. Not to Chinese, not to Latinos. Not to African Americans. It was just really clear that it was specifically toward Koreans.

DET. BEN LEE
Los Angeles Police Department

If you had a liquor store, it didn’t matter if you were black, brown or Asian, they would attack you. You had black-owned businesses, but their businesses were attacked also. Unfortunately, Asians just had a lot of the stores in the area.

SCOTT LEE
Student, El Camino Real High School

They were looting the Radio Shack, furniture stores. I saw mothers and fathers with their children, some of who I’d figured to be about 9 years old, carrying large sofas topped with all kinds of electronic appliances that they’d just looted as a family. I was no longer scared and shocked. My blood was boiling. I made my way to my front door. I knocked and heard my father ask who it was. I said, “It’s me.” I entered my house to see my father ready with a bat to attack any intruder. We did not own firearms. The local news is playing on the television. All my family— cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunts—had come together.

JIN-MOO CHUNG

My head drooped, and the policeman said to his partner, “Let’s go!” They picked me up and put me in their patrol car. They lifted me up from both sides, and they took me and loaded me into the backseat. And we left. I didn’t know where we were going, but we were going to the hospital. That officer saved my life.

V. RESPONSE

MIKE WOO
13th District City of Los Angeles Councilmember

I was asked if I’d like to go down to the Emergency Operations Center, which was the room in the basement of City Hall East which is the nerve center of emergency operations. There were these telephones, computers, television screens, where information from trouble spots across the city is supposed to come in. What struck me was how unprepared the city was. I remember, there were these tables there with telephones, and there were these TV monitors on with the news of what was going on in the city. There was city staff sitting in the EOC who were hearing things on television, writing things on yellow Post-it notes, and attaching them to blackboards, to keep track of what was going on in the city. It told me that if the city staff were dependent on television news telling them what was going on in the real world, the system wasn’t working very well.

DET. BEN LEE
LAPD

The officers in the field, we were frustrated because we were not given direct orders to do what we needed to do, in essence to safeguard property, safeguard people’s safety. The management didn’t want us to inflame it more. If we went out there and took police action in an aggressive manner, the police were viewed as truly the bad guys. That’s the fine line we walked.

MIKE WOO
City Councilmember

The police response was reinforcing my unarticulated view that there needed to be a change at the top of the police department. I was concluding that under Chief [Daryl] Gates, the police department was not adequately prepared. There wasn’t an adequate plan about what to do. But during the days of the riots, there wasn’t very much I could do. Some people said the chief of police was more powerful than the mayor of Los Angeles. I think there was a kind of unspoken rule that nobody told Chief Gates what to do.

RICHARD CHOI
Radio Korea

Even at that point, a lot of people had closed up their stores and gone home because they were really worried. Someone would call and ask, “I’ve got a liquor store at 156th and Normandie, is my store OK?” And someone else would call and say, “I do business next to there, and the store is on fire.” And people would start crying and crying, “Oh no, what do I do? What should I do?”

JULIE CARL
9-year-old Koreatown resident

For the first time in my life, I heard middle-aged Korean men call Radio Korea and just cry.

RICHARD CHOI

Everybody was calling. We didn’t make an announcement about calling in. When I went on the air, I’d just say, “You should flee, in that case, you should flee.” At that point, everything we said was about fleeing. That was important. Don’t get hurt. I stayed up all night. I didn’t have time to think. It was crazy. As the night went on, everything started coming north.

EMILE MACK
Firefighter

We’re starting to get reports in that companies are already being attacked. And so we’re starting to get really concerned about what are we heading into. One of our things is we’re trying to get bulletproof vests. They don’t have any more at the shop. So I’m there, it’s midnight, it’s kind of lit with kind of a light that puts an amber haze glow over the yard as we’re starting to put our things on the fire trucks. And we get sent to our first fire.

DET. BEN LEE

The eerie sight of a glow of red in the horizon, and the smell of smoke everywhere. You couldn’t drive out of it.

A strip mall on Western Avenue and Sixth Street in Koreatown is overtaken by fire. © HYUNGWON KANG

CHUNGMI KIM
L.A. playwright

What I remember is the spooky, pinkish night sky.

April 30, Thursday

I. PROTECT OUR TOWN

RICHARD CHOI
Radio Korea

In the morning, the Hannam Chain supermarket owner Kee Whan Ha, he came to the radio station. And he took out his gun.

KEE WHAN HA
Owner of Hannam Chain, a Koreatown supermarket

I was so upset. It was small, a .45 or something like that. I took it to Radio Korea, to [Radio Korea president] Jang-hee Lee. I know him very well, we’re almost same age. We’re close to each other.

RICHARD CHOI

[Kee Whan Ha] said, “You keep telling people to flee, to go home, but how can we leave Koreatown? We came to this country and we worked like crazy and we made this town, our town. But if we leave, they’re going to burn it down. Don’t we have to protect our town? Can’t you say that on the radio?” And he offered to show us around so we could see what was going on. I couldn’t leave because I had to stay on the air, but Jang-hee Lee went out with Ha. And Lee came back and told Ha, “You’re right.”

KEE WHAN HA

So I went on radio, and I said, “Don’t go home. Protect your business. Your business is your life. All your rifles. All your weapons, bring everything out.”

RICHARD CHOI

I wondered legally how this would work out. Could we, while protecting our town, if something bad happens, could we have some liability? [Our lawyer] said, “You have a right and a duty to protect your property. In America, that’s why you have the right to bear arms.” So from 4/30, around 10 a.m., the message on the radio became: We have to protect our town.

EMILE MACK

We’d been working all night. We’re still in pursuit of vests. And where we’re sent to is the intersection of Vermont and 8th. That’s where we first entered Koreatown, and we began our firefight. We spot our hydrant that we’re going to hook up. It’s across the street, on the west side of Vermont, from the shops that are on fire. And just as we get off the fire truck to hook up our hose, we look up Vermont, and southbound on Vermont are two carloads of people. And they don’t draw any particular attention from us other than, there’s two cars traveling down the street. And the streets literally are deserted. And the two cars come out, and they stop in front of the shopping center, and eight, 10 people get out of the two cars. And they all line up on the sidewalk, pull out guns, and start shooting into the stores that are right behind us. And we immediately hit the ground. And then, as we’re watching, Korean storeowners start coming out of the stores while people in the cars are shooting at them. And they start shooting back.

RICHARD CHOI

The big shopping centers and stores had already been organizing [defense] before then. But they didn’t think shooting and all that would start. It was about showing that they would protect their stores. But once we started broadcasting that we should protect our town, then the thought that it was OK to shoot entered people’s minds.

HYUN SIK SONG
Member of Korean American Young Adult Team

I was listening to Radio Korea, and I heard announcements that people were gathering at Wilshire Tower Hotel to protect the stores. People began forming teams. There wasn’t a specific organizer, it just happened. We called ourselves the “Korean American Young Adult Team.” We were divided up into teams of 10, and we kept in touch through cell phones.

A security guard and other armed men protect California Market in Koreatown. © HYUNGWON KANG

© HYUNGWON KANG

PETER LEE
Member of Korean American Young Adult Team

What got me mad when I was watching the news, it was live on TV, and the white newscaster was saying, “Look at these Koreans. What are they doing? How could they do such a thing?” I was like, what are you talking about? They’re defending their stores. The cops were just watching. That’s when I felt I needed to go in there and help out.

SONNY KANG
College student, member of Korean American Young Adult Team

Radio Korea was the lifeline for people in the community. People could call Radio Korea if they felt like they were in danger. Calling 911 wasn’t going to do anything. Radio Korea would put it on the airwaves: “A beauty salon on Beverly and Vermont, the windows are getting smashed in … is there anybody that can help?” We’d drive there as fast as we can.

JUNE LIM
13-year-old daughter of Gardena liquor store owner

My uncle had borrowed [a gun] from his friend, but my father refused to use it. Instead, he depended on brooms and my brother’s street hockey sticks for protection. My father stuck to his morals about not arming himself with a gun.

KEE WHAN HA

About 2 p.m., Koreatown was attacked by this mob. They were going on Vermont [heading] north. I own the Hannam Chain on Olympic Boulevard, and we assembled many people with [guns].

JENNY AN
Fifth-grader, Wilton Place Elementary School in Koreatown

During snack time, you see everybody running around, all the students, because they heard about the riots. It’s in L.A., oh my gosh! Everybody’s running around, everybody’s crying. My classroom was on the second floor, and I ran downstairs to tell my parents to pick me up right now. The phone line was so long. My best friend, I ran to her. I said, “Susie, what are we going to do? What are we going to do?” She said, “We’re going to die.” I just sat there and cried.

SONNY KANG

We basically had to fortify Korean businesses with rice bags, like sandbags in war. It was unlike anything you can ever imagine. Driving around Koreatown and seeing all these businesses with perimeters of rice bags, it was like a war zone.

KEE WHAN HA

One of our security guards [at Hannam], I met him in the morning. He’s a very good-looking guy, a French Jew. I said, “I’ve never seen such a good-looking security guard.” Suddenly I heard a loud bang. Many people started shooting with guns, with pistols. I saw his whole head going up, exploding. His body slowly coming down to ground without [a] head. I got so scared. Then he was gone. And I believe it was friendly fire.

EMILE MACK

They’re exchanging fire between the people from the cars and the Korean shop owners. [We] go around the corner, and then come back from north on Vermont. So when we come back, basically two minutes later, everyone’s gone. The cars are gone. The shopowners have disappeared, probably gone back into their shops. So as we began fighting the fire, I’m looking down Vermont, and within a few minutes, some stores in the next block on Vermont begin burning. And I really don’t see anyone, but I see the stores start burning on the next block. And then give it another five, 10 minutes, the next block after that starts burning. And over the course of the next few hours, as we are sitting there on this one fire, fighting this store fire, as far as we could see down Vermont, the fire has progressed with people setting stores on fire, businesses, all the way as far as we could see down Vermont to the Santa Monica Freeway.

HYUNGWON KANG
Photographer

California Market on 4th and Western was under attack. When I went there, I saw the owner of the shop with his semi-automatic pistol shooting into the air to fend off potential looters who were throwing Molotov cocktails to burn some of the shops. On 6th and Western—that shopping mall was already being torched. This California Market was trying to survive that attack. That’s when I realized that Korean Americans were being targeted.

HYE KO*
Owner of Koreatown video store

[My husband Hyung] said the rioters were coming and that things were very bad. I said, “Hurry up and leave.” A little while later, the line was dead.

HYUNG KO*
Husband of Hye Ko, owner of Koreatown video store

I closed the store, and I was driving away, and I could already see a sea of fire. I couldn’t think. Is this really happening? How could this be happening in America?

HYE KO

On every TV station, they were showing the riots. They showed our building. It was on fire. Watching it, my feelings … it was like our world was falling apart. Our 15 years in America, we had worked so hard and tried to live honestly. Seeing everything turn to ashes, I couldn’t even cry.

JUNE LIM

My father told me about how his customers would come by and check up on him. Some would even make visits at night, saying they were there to protect the store. Many of the black and Latino customers would call a couple of times during the day to make sure that everything was OK.

SUNG-SIK CHRIS KIM
Co-owner of a store on Normandie and 51st in South L.A.

Luckily, our store was OK. Because [of] all the African American people [who] live upstairs in the apartment. So that’s why [my father’s] store was safe. All the employees were black.

JANET KIM
Wife of Sung-sik Chris Kim

One of them was there for a long time.

SUNG-SIK CHRIS KIM

His whole life. His name is Michael. We were really close. His father lived right across the street, [on] Normandie across the street. He said, “Leave.” So that’s why [my father] left. An African American, he’s [the] landlord, came to the store. He drilled all the plywood to the window, and sprayed “BLACK OWNED.” It sounds funny, but it worked.

EMILE MACK

We hadn’t slept yet. So we pull into a station late Thursday night. There is a little food. They do have some vests. But they’re not bulletproof vests. They tell us these are flak vests. If someone shoots at you with a bullet, it’s going to go through them. We took them, anyway. We didn’t care.

II. EDDIE

PETER LEE
Korean American Young Adult Team

[Eddie Lee was] very cool. [We called him] Rambo. Reason we called him Rambo was because he would have guns. He was an expert on guns. He would basically pull a gun apart very fast, he would clean it, take care of it, polish it, put oils in it. He would respect the gun. He wasn’t trigger-happy. He really knows how to handle it. At that time, a lot of the kids were stupid about guns, were trigger-happy, would try to go up to people and scare people, a macho trip. And Eddie wasn’t like that.

JAMES KANG
Korean American Young Adult Team

Eddie was pretty smart with guns. He was experienced. He went to the shooting range a lot.

SONNY KANG

Eddie [Lee] and James [Kang] were on the other team. They were responding to a liquor store call on [3rd] street and Hobart.

KEE WHAN HA

Somebody report [to] Radio Korea, they put [out] a lie. And one of the people that say there are mobs coming. They said they’re coming. Radio Korea directly connected them to the guy on the roof [who] said mob was coming. And the [Korean Young Adult Team] said they’re coming to help them. But the guy on the roof thought it was the mob.

JAMES KANG

They were shooting to kill us. They didn’t have the right to shoot to kill, even if we were looters. We weren’t on their premises. We were about 30 yards away. If we were any closer, we would have all died … The gunfire wouldn’t stop. There was no place to hide … It was the most painful feeling … The hole I got shot in was the size of a silver dollar. I could stick three fingers in it. … Koreans in [a passing] car and we were making eye contact. Eddie and I were trying to ask for help. But I couldn’t talk, make a sound because my mouth was so dry…They were so close to us, but they just left. I wish I could have gotten down their license plate numbers. Since the time Eddie got shot at, he was alive for another 30 minutes. He was a fighter, he didn’t want to die. I know Eddie. You could tell he was fighting for his life … All I remember is going into the emergency room and seeing all the lights. I was then knocked out.

Eddie Lee became the sole Korean American fatality of the riots.

Friday, May 1

I. WAR ZONE

Deployment of National Guard troops had been delayed by organizational glitches and lack of ammunition until Friday. By 6 p.m., most of the 6,000 troops sent to Los Angeles had been deployed.

MIN JIN HONG
Elementary school student in Koreatown

I heard a loud noise outside. When I went to look out, where I normally saw kids playing and cars driving by, I saw the National Guard and a tank.

DET. BEN LEE
LAPD

That’s the first time since ’65 the military was in L.A. That’s a very serious situation, I think that the gangbangers, the criminal element, they got the message. I think from our point, all of a sudden, there was a consolidated leadership. Communication between all of the agencies that were responding. The citizens knew that the city was serious.

RICHARD CHOI
Radio Korea

After the National Guard came in, the looting, the fires, that started to settle down.

SONNY KANG
Korean American Young Adult Team

Those of us who put our lives on the line were never given thank-you’s. After the National Guard came in, it was, “Oh great, the National Guard saved the day.” And we were forgotten.

HYUNGWON KANG
Photographer

I noticed [police] had parked themselves on the outer edges of Koreatown, and were manning checkpoints. I also saw them arresting a Korean American for possession of a firearm, near Olympic and Vermont.

JOYCE CHON
11-year-old Koreatown resident

I ventured outside with my parents. Taking those first steps outside my apartment was pretty scary. The sight of the charred empty lot [across the street] was surreal. That building housed a Numero Uno Pizzeria that my mom and I would frequent. I got my haircuts from the beauty salon located on the second floor. All of it was gone. The area seemed strangely quiet. Everybody was stunned. Eventually the silence would break when small business owners came to see the damage. Some yelled, others wailed. I recognized one woman as the owner of the beauty salon. She used to cut my hair.

HYE KO
Koreatown video store owner

That night [my husband] and I went to church. Until then [he] didn’t cry. While sitting in church, he began to cry. I had never seen [him] cry like that before. The head of the household losing everything, it’s like dying. He must [have been] in such pain to cry like that.

PETER CHO
Fifth-grader, whose mother ran a Koreatown clothing store

I got to see in person what was once my mother’s store. It was a black pile of wood, glass and metal. I thought we were going to stay at the store, but we headed over to a Korean radio station where they were giving out food for the riot victims. I thought to myself, “Why are we going here?” I never thought my family had to resort to this. Were we poor now? I felt like crying, but the last thing I wanted to do was make my mother cry, too. So I held in those tears.

RICHARD CHOI
Radio Korea

We became a relief center. So we needed phone lines, we needed volunteers. Pacific Bell actually came out and installed 20 lines on that Friday. They came out very quickly. And we got volunteers to answer the phones. We needed to know how much damage the Korean community had sustained. So many people’s property got damaged. Stores got burned down. We told people to call us and let us know.

CATHY CHOI
UCLA freshman

They needed a lot of people to come help in Koreatown, to help translate. [Many riot victims were] trying to get federal emergency grants, as well as other emergency support. Our group [of students from UCLA] got split up. Some of us went to Radio Korea and some of us went to OMC (Oriental Mission Church), where they kind of set up a headquarters for the emergency centers. I ended up at the Radio Korea station. All these people were in line, trying to say whatever happened to their store. There were some representatives from FEMA, and they just had like stacks and stacks of different applications that you had to go through. And some people were just out in the parking lot crying, because they were so devastated. It was just really hard to see that. Although my parents weren’t directly impacted, I felt like they could be my family members, too.

Members of the National Guard patrol outside a Ralph’s supermarket in Koreatown. © HYUNGWON KANG

JANNY KIM
13-year-old La Cañada resident

After a couple of days, the damage reports were coming in, the dollar amount of how much damage. I remember it being just really high. We were sitting around the dinner table, the Korean radio station was on. People were calling in—kids, older people, younger people, saying [in Korean], “I want to donate $100 to the cause. $10, $5.” My dad said, “You know, it’s up to you if you want to donate your allowance. Why don’t you call?” So I did, and I think I donated about $20. I remember thinking, “Gosh, it’s only $20,” but it felt so good.

II. RALLYING TOGETHER

RICHARD CHOI

[A few hundred Korean Americans] gathered at Wilshire and Western, in front of the Wiltern Theater.

JOHN LEE
L.A. Times reporter

It was crazy. Places were still burning, and people were driving by and saying, “You guys are fucking crazy, you guys are going to get shot.”

RICHARD CHOI

A Mrs. Shi, or Mrs. Yoo, I don’t remember, she called in and said, “Let’s have a parade, a really big one.”

KEE WHAN HA

I said the sooner the better, the sooner the riots will be stopped. Riots have [a] momentum. If you kill the momentum, that’s it. If you [are] dragging, these mobs keep trying to ruin our businesses, our property. I went to Radio Korea Friday night. I talked to [Radio Korea president] Mr. Lee and Mr. [Richard] Choi, I said, “Let’s do it on Saturday.” So [with] less than 24 hours left, maybe 10 or 20 hours, they said, let’s do it.

May 2, Saturday

KEE WHAN HA

The march we planned for around 10 o’clock. From 7 o’clock, they really broadcasting, every minute, “Let’s come out and have a peace march.”

RICHARD CHOI

It came together very suddenly. It wasn’t something we put together a week or two weeks before.

BONG HWAN KIM

I remember standing on Western Avenue, and you could see there was a dip on Western Avenue before it gets to Olympic, and you could see people, 40,000 people. You can see it. And I just stood there, and it took an hour for everybody to walk by. That was just amazing. That was the largest Asian American march ever. In the history of this country, and probably ever.

LISA KIM
10-year-old L.A. resident

My parents took the whole family out. It is one of the good memories I have of my family. Just me, my dad, my mom, sister and younger brother, who was just a toddler then. We went to Ardmore Park, where we gathered with a massive crowd of people.

RICHARD CHOI

We tried to get into Ardmore Park, but it was locked. So word got out that we needed to get in but that the gate was locked. So we said it on the air, and asked if there’s someone with metal cutters, that they come quickly. So someone came with cutters. And we got into the park. LAPD was against it initially, and we always said on the radio, “We have to be peaceful to the cops.” But [then LAPD Lt.] Paul Kim said he’d take responsibility, and he let everybody in.

KoreAm file photo.

Korean Americans led a 40,000-strong peace march the Saturday after the riots, with participants chanting, “We want peace.” KoreAm file photo.

LISA KIM

The majority of them were Koreans, and there were some groups of other ethnicities, including African Americans. We brought out our little yellow, plastic Korean drums that my sister and I used in Korean dance class. As we walked down Olympic Boulevard, we would bang on the drums as we chanted, “We want peace! We want peace!” with the crowd.

SONNY KANG

It was led by Eddie’s picture, and his family carrying his picture. We patrolled that and made sure nobody was attacking Koreans while they were peacefully marching. My team leader assigned us to specific locations on the [march] route to make sure there were no problems.

LT. PAUL KIM
Los Angeles Police Department

We had information that certain gangs from other ethnic backgrounds were going to come and do a drive-by. I had gotten all the resources that I could—police, National Guard, even officers from Fort Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, the prison guards. They were all working with me that day, but there was no way you could protect the people if something were to happen.

ROY HONG
Founder of Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates

I distinctly remember the chant. For the chant, it was “Peace.” And it was sort of, to be really honest, challenging the other chant coming at the time, “No justice, no peace.” So those were the competing chants at the time. Our community said, “Peace.” People wanted to keep marching. It didn’t end!

CHRIS CHANG
Computer analyst from the San Fernando Valley

This turnout is the quiet way Koreans are telling the world we are going through a lot of pain.

LT. PAUL KIM
LAPD

There were five different factions participating that day, and five different leaders. You know how Koreans always talk about how Koreans are a hopeless people who can’t unite, that it’s in their blood, that they always screw it up, that they don’t know how to compromise or negotiate. On that day, those five groups with such different backgrounds were able to work together.

KEE WHAN HA
Business owner

So we [march] all the way to 3rd Street. Then I realize we need water, people need water. So I went to Radio Korea and they announce, “OK, we need water.” A couple of trucks of water came. Anything I needed, I talk to [the] Radio Korea people, and everybody trying to help each other now. Amazing! Never see this kind of unity. Maybe never happen again—I won’t say never happen again.

The Days After

I. A VOICE

RICHARD CHOI

Americans were very surprised by the rally’s turnout. Channel 7, their coverage focused on Koreans being mean. And we thought, how can ABC just do this? So we said, “Let’s call ABC.” And we jammed their lines.

ROY HONG

Every hour they were showing Rodney King getting beaten, cops being acquitted, and instantly they’d go to Soon Ja pulling the trigger on Latasha Harlins. If I was an African American youth, watching that shit, I would want to go beat up some Korean guy right now.

SOPHIA KIM
Writer and editor at the Korea Times English Edition

I was so incensed when I heard a respected African American community leader of a black organization tell Nightline’s Ted Koppel that relations between his and the Korean American community can start improving when “Koreans stop blowing people away.” That racially inflammatory statement was not even questioned by such a respected journalist as Koppel.

CLARA EUM
Host and producer at KBLA Radio

I ended up calling the producer of Nightline to protest a recent episode where not a single Korean was there to tell our side of the story. Since my background was in TV news, I knew whom to contact. I asked the Nightline producer for equal amount of air time, and she agreed.

ANGELA OH
Attorney, civil rights advocate

John [Lim, president of the Korean American Bar Association at the time] got the call. John asked me to go on the air. So I did.

JANNY KIM

I don’t remember what she said, but I remember how I felt. Here’s a Korean lady with a Korean last name. I never saw a Korean lady her age speak that good English. She was talking about the Korean community and what needs to be done. I thought, “Oh, wow. She’s not the Korean merchant who doesn’t speak English. She’s actually voicing out our frustration.”

KEE WHAN HA

She came as a representative representing Koreatown. There was definitely [a] bad feeling among first generation.

ANGELA OH

I didn’t get discouraged. There were other people that were better positioned to interface more closely with the first generation. My role was to be an advocacy voice for a different narrative than what was starting to emerge in the mainstream press.

ROY HONG

We had a real leader in the making. And unfortunately, certain factions of the community weren’t able to support her.

II. RELIEF

BONG HWAN KIM

FEMA, the Red Cross, all the disaster relief agencies, both private and public, they parachuted in.

ANGELA OH

I knew somebody in the [federal Small Business Administration] who did disaster work. I asked if he knew anybody in the federal government who might be assigned to L.A. And then the next thing I know, he said, “Hey, I’m being assigned to L.A.”

KEE WHAN HA

FEMA gave … free mortgage [for] six months to one year, to victims of Koreatown. Then the SBA. They give us loans. I believe most of the SBA loans were deferred.

RICHARD CHOI

From the second night, we had said we were raising funds for the victims. What came in to us was $3 million. People sending $10, $100, $5. We gathered that, and it was more than $3 million. And from the Korea Times and from South Korea, they raised another $3 million. So a total of about $6 million came together.

KEE WHAN HA

Any victim register[ed] at Radio Korea [was] entitled to have [the] same money. So we give $500, $3000, whatever. I think about 3,000 registered as victims. So we give. All the money [was] gone that way.

ROY HONG

As soon as it started, [there were] rumors that some families got relief money six times because one family member got it, another family member got it, and [they were] all blowing the money away in drinking halls every night.

Residents comb through the wreckage in Koreatown. KoreAm file photo.

Angela Oh addresses the crowd at a candlelight vigil held outside City Hall. KoreAm file photo.

KEE WHAN HA

Two victims’ groups [were] fighting. Then we have a big argument between two groups, Korea Times and other news media. Nobody can control [it]. It’s a mess.

RICHARD CHOI

When are we, the Korean community, going to get $6 million? That’s a lot of money. All of it got wasted! There was maybe $1 million left, and they used it to buy an office building, doing this, doing that, buying a building, selling it. It’s all gone now.

ANGELA OH

That’s why I’m not a fan at all of just throwing money when something terrible happens. You have to give it to someplace that you know will properly document and distribute it.

IN KEUN KIM*
Owner of Mike’s Market

My store was looted, but I didn’t report any damages because I knew there were others who needed help much more than I did. I fixed up my store on my own.

III. RETURN

DOROTHY PIRTLE
11-year-old South Central resident

When I returned to my mostly black fifth-grade classroom at Baldwin Hills Elementary School a week after the riots, kids wanted to know whether I sympathized with them or the Koreans. They wanted to see if I would choose my black father or my Korean mother. I had been asked this before. The riots just gave people more fuel.

JENNY AN
Fifth-grader at Wilton Place Elementary in Koreatown

This one Mexican kid [in my class] came up to me and said, “You, stupid Korean … I hate you.” I just started crying. He said, “Because of you, everything is ruined.” I said, “You guys are the ones who were stealing everything, you guys were robbing everyone.” One black kid comes, and he goes, “Well, you know, you Koreans hate all black people.” I said, “I don’t hate black people, I don’t hate you.” He said, “Yeah, you do.” And that’s when I totally realized what racism was. I didn’t even know what prejudice was.

CHRISTIN CHANG
Niece of store owner

[My uncle] recalls his first moments back in the store when he saw the damage. He says that was the first time he ever felt like giving up. Because of the sheer number of businesses looted, his Korean business insurance provider went bankrupt and there was no financial recourse.

NA SOON KYUNG
Practitioner of traditional Korean medicine

I thought of symptoms that affected people, … lack of appetite, depression, anxiety. I went to the Korean media and said, if anyone suffered form these symptoms, they could come to my hospital and be treated for free. The moment the media distributed this message, 25 people came to the hospital, and increasingly more came as time passed.

SUNG-SIK CHRIS KIM
Son of South Central liquor store owner

We opened up a week or 10 days later. Maybe within 10 to 20 blocks, there were no liquor stores. [There were] no deliveries for milk. I go to Von’s [a supermarket], get the milk, fill up the truck. We went to other markets and got the milk, 10 to 20 gallons. We brought it [back to the store], and it sold so quick.

HYUNGWON KANG

There were many Korean Americans who had that kind of special relationship with their customers or neighbors. Those were hardly ever reported by the mainstream media. That’s why I spoke up when we had a meeting with our [L.A. Times] editor [Shelby Coffey]. I spoke out and said, “We need someone who speaks the language of Koreatown on our staff.” I told him point blank. “We need to speak the language of the people we’re trying to cover.”

ELAINE KIM
UC Berkeley ethnic studies professor

In June 1992, I was standing at a corner lot in South Central in the rubble and ruins of a Korean mom-and-pop convenience store when an old Datsun 240Z with music blaring screeched to a halt, and two very big young men got out. They rushed over to hug the owners and [told] them how sorry they were that their store had been destroyed. They told me that the photos of their children that had been posted by the cash register had burned up with the store. I remember thinking about how little attention has been paid to the human interactions that, while not sensational, make up our everyday lives together.

AQEELA SHERRILLS
Watts resident and community activist

Mr. Lee has always hired local folks … at Watts Market. He was like family in the neighborhood. [Mr. Lee and his family] supported all of our activities and stuff. They sponsored the Little League, the football games. Mr. Lee’s store was burnt down [during the riots], but one of the things that folks noticed a couple of days after, somebody had spraypainted on the wall in big black letters, “Sorry Mr. Lee.” Mr. Lee ended up owning a laundromat there. It’s still there now. Three months ago, I went over there to wash my clothes.

Interview Credits: Interviews by Eugene Yi for KoreAm, unless otherwise noted here. Jenny An, Peter Cho, Peter Lee, Ian Kim, Janny Kim: by K.W. Lee. Julie Carl, Christin Chang, Joyce Chon, Min Jin Hong, Lisa Kim, Chong (Scott) Won Lee: Courtesy of K.W. Lee’s “Children of Saigu” Project. Chris Chang, In Keum Kimand Jay Lee: by John H. Lee. Edward Chang: by Katherine Yungmee Kim for KoreAm. Jin-moo Chung and Jet Lee: Courtesy of the Paula Daniels Collection, Visual Communications Archive. Raphael Hong, Sonny Kang, Chungmi Kim and Aqeela Sherrills: by Julie Ha for KoreAm. Hyungwon Kang: compiled from Kang’s written account and interview by Julie Ha. James Kang: by Sophia Kim for the Korea Times English Edition. Sung-sik Chris and Janet Kim: by Emily Kim for KoreAm. Paul Kim: excerpted from East to America: Korean American Life Stories, edited by Elaine H. Kim and Eui-Young Yu, used here with permission. Hye and Hyung Ko: Courtesy of Alex Ko, from his film, Pokdong. Sophia Kim: excerpted from her testimony before the Assembly Special Committee on the L.A. crisis, July 31, 1992. Lisa Phillips, Na Soon Kyung, and Hyun Sik Song: Courtesy of the Open Museum. Dorothy Pirtle: excerpted from  KoreAm (April 2005).

This article was published in the April 2012 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today!To purchase a single issue copy of the April issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).


  • ByeonHoSa

    In response to Edward’s comment:

    LAPD will be committed to protecting rich (mostly white) folks, as was their strategy during the 1992 riots… to let the looters ravage Koreatown while law enforcement was setting up to protect Hancock Park… That’s well-documented.

    Even now, when there are radio calls for police, they will quickly respond to areas west of Western Avenue, and be remiss in taking care of what’s just a few steps away from the station on Vermont, near Olympic… there was even a rape right by the station just recently.

    When Hancock Park demanded that Koreatown’s Western Avenue to be cleaned up of prostitutes, the cops quickly put up no-right-turn signs to the great inconvenience of actual Koreatown residents, whom weren’t consulted about it.

    KoreAm would do well to look into police corruption at Olympic Division and their partnership with the white-collar criminals from Wilshire Center and Venice… except that would ensnare a lot of prominent Korean-American power players as well.

  • john

    Stop ignoring the fact that the relationship between the police and the african american community at the time was not good. This was going to happen in any neighborhood, whether it was Ktown or somewhere else. This article tries to portray the Korean American community in a certain “peaceful” way and seems to forget that 429 happened for a good reason. Furthermore, the relationship between African Americans and Korean Americans or Korean community was not good either. While there were Koreans who were trying to unite with other communities, there were many, just like the people in the picture who felt they needed to use guns, who sided a lot of with Republican views and felt they were different from African and Hispanic Americans. Before the riots even occurred, there was already bad tension between the two communities. Koreans wouldn’t hire African Americans etc. and to this day, you still see this a lot in Ktown. Why do you think there are a lot of rap songs from that time that were angry at Koreans? Anyway, I’m not saying it is not important to talk about the reactions and the feelings of the Korean community. In fact, this article would be good if it was titled differently. I certainly wouldn’t call this a history or the truth, because you ignored a lot.

  • Not Everyone is to Blame

    “here are two lessons here:

    1. Stand by your community, and it’ll stand by you.
    2. Apologies to the Lord, but only a fool beats ALL his swords into plowshares.”

    Yes, blame the victim. There were NICE Korean storeowners who got looted, people who allowed regulars to buy on credit. I guess some people will never take personal responsibility and thus, their neighborhoods will be plagued by violence, poverty, and broken homes. But anyone who would defend the looters probably has no sense of morals/personal responsibility, so what kind of response would you expect? Koreans learned a lesson alright. Many moved away from those areas swearing NEVER to do business in such communities again.

  • Vox

    There are two lessons here:

    1. Stand by your community, and it’ll stand by you.
    2. Apologies to the Lord, but only a fool beats ALL his swords into plowshares.

  • Not Everyone is to Blame

    “Soon Jah Du was guilty of a crime but if one can judge the entire Korean community over Ms. Du’s crime, then all Blacks stand guilty for the murders committed by OJ Simpson. Not very logical, obviously.”

    Here’s an article that explains what actually happened.

    “Lee says that after police released the videotape, many news outlets edited it to show only the shooting:

    Harlins actually punched Du two or three times in the face after the store owner grabbed her backpack and demanded payment for the juice that was hidden away in her bag.

    Du’s family contended that the weapon had been stolen and recovered and was modified, unbeknownst to the merchant, to have a hair trigger, a fact that cops seemed to corroborate.”

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/04/la_riots_korean_los_angeles_times_john_lee.php

  • Lou

    This is truly one of the most amazing web pages I have ever read. I was there 20 years ago, and as a Latino, I was (and still am) deeply ashamed and angry at my fellow Hispanics for following the brutality of Black Rioters with opportunistic thievery. At that time I worked for an ad agency on the northern tip of K-Town and this building got looted. My Korean boss had no choice but to lay off all of us on his staff.

    I even drove down Vermont to clap for the Koreans I saw who chose to defend their lives and dignity. I am not Asian but I am a human being who was raised to know right and wrong, and in those days we all knew the Korean cause was just. Koreans had NOTHING to do with Rodney King or slavery. Soon Jah Du was guilty of a crime but if one can judge the entire Korean community over Ms. Du’s crime, then all Blacks stand guilty for the murders committed by OJ Simpson. Not very logical, obviously.

    20 years later, I fear that the voices of the victims and defenders in the Korean community might be drowned out by the some of the depraved voices in the Black Community who will seek to shift the discussion to the usual dodge about police injustice (or slavery 100 years before) instead of addressing their own dishonor and guilty conscience as a community. I wish someone would make a movie about Korean American stories during the L.A. riots.

  • Paul

    This was so moving to hear the story of all these people. We can not forget this moment in history. This should never happen again.

  • Edward

    I was in HS when all this was going on. Thinking about it today I’m amazed by how much has changed and how much hasn’t. All in all, I don’t think we have learned a lot from the riots. It’s just that the Koreans have moved away from businesses that service disadvantaged neighborhoods as they assimilated more and more into the mainstream. We’ve left more and more of the liquor stores to the new immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia just like we Koreans bought them from the Jews several generations ago.

    I think mentally the riots were more like Hurricane Katrina. Just a natural disaster that can’t be figured out or rationally explained within the minds of men. It just happened and we have to start over the best way we know how.

    Can this happen to Koreatown again? I don’t know. It would be much harder since cops don’t have to come all the way from Rampart District and we have the Olympic Police Station now that’s well within Koreatown boundaries.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Featuring Recent Posts Wordpress Widget development by YD