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Racist Message Scrawled on Chinatown Market Sparks Hate Crime Investigation

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Oakland police are investigating a graffiti incident in Chinatown as a possible hate crime. 

Tony Cheung, who owns New Tin’s Market on 7th Street where the graffiti was found last week, was shocked when he saw the handwritten message written on the shop’s exterior wall. The market is located just about four blocks from the Oakland Police Department.

The alarming and hateful words were captured in photos posted to social media, which read:


Cheung told reporters at several outlets that the incident left him feeling hurt and bewildered. He said it has been at least 15 years since his market was last targeted. 

The words were written on the wall sometime between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. Thursday, according to police. Cheung said there are several surveillance cameras on the property but market staff suspect someone physically moved the camera from the area where the racist words were scrawled.

The graffiti incident is just one in a long string of recent hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islander communities both locally and nationally, and it came ahead of several planned events around the Bay Area to condemn anti-Asian attacks and assaults.

In a press conference last week, Chinatown Chamber of Commerce president Carl Chan said:

“We do not tolerate this ignorant and disrespectful behavior that leads to senseless violence. It strikes me to my core and I am angered beyond words. Initiatives need to be made today without hesitation.”

According to the Stop AAPI Hate organization, which provides an online self-reporting tool to track incidents, there were more than 9,000 anti-Asian incidents reported nationwide between March 2020 and June 2021. The rate of incidents spiked as COVID-19 emerged and intensified as the former president repeatedly used racially-targeted language when discussing the virus.       

People who have experienced anti-Asian discrimination or assaults are encouraged to report incidents on the Stop AAPI Hate website. Anyone with information about the graffiti incident at New Tin’s Market are asked to contact the Oakland Police Department at (510) 238-3728. 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.

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