Citizens patrol Oakland Chinatown after unprovoked attacks

A loosely formed group of citizens say they are taking it upon themselves to patrol Oakland's Chinatown because they can't bear to see any more people getting attacked.

The grassroots effort is aimed at patrolling the streets following a series of unprovoked attacks and robberies.

Two Bay Area fathers, along with their children patrolled the streets of Oakland Chinatown Monday night.

They spoke with merchants to let them know about their volunteer effort.

"We're all in this fight together. Stop all this racism. I'm here for Chinatown, for the people," says Jimmy Bounphensy who is leading the volunteer patrol. He's a truck driver who lives in San Jose.

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The men say being from immigrant families, they couldn't stand by and do nothing when older Asians and businesses already hurting due to pandemic are bing attacked.

"I feel the pain. My mother being robbed on a bus. My auntie being beat and robbed for her necklace," says Kelly Means who joined his frined Bounphensy.

The friends say they grew up in San Francisco's Tenderloin. Bounphensy says he started a movement he calls "Asians with Attitudes" to help protect a commmunity that has seen many struggles.

"My grandparents, growing up, collecting cans. I can only imagine something happening to them," says Bounphensay.

The volunteers say seeing videos of older folks victimized in recent, unprovoked attacks spurred them into action.

"I had to come out here. I can't sleep," says Bounphensy.  

"We really appreciate it," says Carl Chan, the president of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce as he met with the volunteers.

Shop owner Kenneth Lam also expressed gratitude to the volunteers, His store selling Buddhist worship items  was recently robbed.

"Chinatown become a dead city. Everybody afraid of coming out. Thank you guys for supporting us," says Lam as he met with the volunteers.   

There is surveillance video of Lam's store being robbed by three women. He and his wife were attacked.

One suspect nearly struck him with the getaway vehicle.   

Lam's owner says it was the third robbery in six months, "We have to fight back. Basically enough is enough."

"These people, they're not my blood, but I feel like we have to step in as Asian community because I feel what they're going through," says Means.

The two fathers plan to come patrol Oakland Chinatown whenever they're not working.

They say they are not armed. They hope their presence will be a deterrent.