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Leaders Decry Deliveryman Murder

February 16, 2004, New York Newsday

The latest murder of a Queens Chinese food delivery man highlights the danger that has always been part of the job, advocates for immigrant workers said yesterday.

"People slam doors on you, people treat you like a criminal or kind of suspicious if you you're in someone's building," said Hyun Lee, program director of the anti-violence CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities.

While the murder Friday of Huang Chen, 18, in South Jamaica resulted in the immediate arrests of two teens, there have been countless robberies against delivery people that go unreported or doesn't get priority by police, advocates say.

On many occasions, the victims are often low-paid employees who speak little English. And many don't always cooperate if they're victims to routine robberies, according to a law enforcement investigator.

"Most of the victims, they're too busy working, they don't want to take time off to look at photos," he said.

It's a problem that calls for worker education in terms of safety, said Margaret Fung of the Manhattan-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"There needs to be some concerted efforts," she said.

While many restaurants deliver food, most tend to do so only in Manhattan or refuse to deliver in high-crime neighborhoods. Choosing neighborhoods to deliver in is a convenience Chinese take-out restaurants can't afford due to their low profit margins, according to advocates.

Police do not keep separate statistics on crimes against delivery people. Other than Chen, there have been at least four delivery people murdered on the job in the city during the last five years.

On Oct. 15, 2002 Jian Lin Chun was killed in the lobby of a Bedford-Stuyvesant building.

On Sept. 1, 2000, Jin-Sheng Liu, 44, the owner of Golden Wok Chinese restaurant in St. Albans was killed making a delivery.

On June 23, 1999, Ng Cheung Cheung, 52, of Yit Wah Chinese restaurant in Jamaica was fatally beaten with a baseball bat.

And on December 10, 1998, Li-Rong Lin, 44, was stabbed to death while making a delivery from the China Buffet Restaurant in Hollis.

Police are still investigating Chen's death and expect to make an additional arrest soon, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.

Two Queens 16-year-olds already have been arrested and charged with the murder. They are due back in court next month.

"It's such a brutal crime for no real apparent reason other than wanting to get money. It just trivializes a life," Kelly said. "You see a lot of it but there's still room to be shocked and this is a shocking crime."

Staff writer Rocco Parascandola contributed to this story.


Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

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