photo by Michael Appleton for the NYT
The illustrious NYPD, in partnership with the equally humanitarian Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently raided a building in East Chinatown — which houses many hometown associations, shops, and even medicinal practitioners — in what they called a “crackdown on a hive of criminality”. Read the rather ridiculous details here.
Although they claim that the cash confiscated is proof that the laborers and retired workers mainly from Fujian province are linked to a Chinese criminal gang and part of “one of the largest illegal gambling operations uncovered in New York City’s recent history”, maybe these folks just like some down time between grueling jobs to play some social low-stakes games of mah jong, cards, and pool. Y’know, like Christmas at yo auntie’s house.
In addition to confiscating mah jong tables, the authorities took a few thousand dollars from a safe and off of folks playing in one hometown association’s small office. They reason that cash found in this raid, along with similar raids, just goes to show that that illegal gambling is goin’ down. But among a population of immigrants who are often unbanked, get paid in cash, and may operate mutual assistance-type lending circles for those down on their luck, you’re not going to find a lot of checks and platinum cards. Which means that some of these folks may have just been carrying their day’s wages on them, which then got snatched up by the authorities as evidence of their criminality.
Authorities also raided the building because of “illegal medical care” (as if the http://sideeffectsofxarelto.org stuff is not enough):
In the recent raid, officials arrested two men in an office behind an unmarked door on the fourth floor. The men, Qiu Jiaxi, 67, and his son, Qiu Lu Hui, 38, were “examining and treating patients by injecting them with unknown substances and giving them a variety of unidentified pills,” the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in a statement. They “lured unsuspecting patients into their office and put their greed before the health and safety of their victims.”
Why does this read like a pulpy fiction from the ’40s featuring a jaundiced Chinaman with long queue and fingernails on the cover? THEY’RE COMING AFTER YOUR WHITE WOMEN NEXT!!
“The Qius were charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, a felony, and face up to four years in prison...but he said that he had studied acupuncture and Chinese traditional medicine in China and in New Jersey, and that his father had been trained in China. Both, he said, had excellent reputations in the New York diaspora as well as in Fujian Province…“Coming to see us is the only option for them,” he said. The Qius stopped practicing after their arrests but returned to their office. During the interview, a stream of patients stopped by, but the Qius apologized and turned them away.”
It’s called fucking Chinese medicine, dipshits! Folk remedies, homeopathy, alternative medicine…whatever you want to call it. While it may not be offered at Beth Israel, hippy white people pay a lot of money to study it in naturopathic school, so just chill out let these poor people without health insurance get the type of care they’ve consented to and have probably been familiar with their whole lives.
Unfortunately, federal officials are continuing to investigate these “gangs”, and the US attorney in Manhattan has sued for forfeiture of the building. While the leaseholder doesn’t believe there was any wrongdoing in the building, he still plans to clear out the hometown associations because of all the attention they’ve received from the authorities.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is all a front to kick residents out and take over the building to build condos in what is fast becoming highly sought-after real estate. I can’t believe in this day and age, and in a city that prides itself on being the most diverse in the nation, stretched taxpayer dollars are going towards harassing old immigrants playing mahjong, confiscating their meager wages, and denying limited English speakers their traditional medicinal practices. You don’t see NYPD and ICE swooping in on old Jewish ladies in Forest Hills playing American Mahjong, or busting in on Wall Street types playing cards and betting on fantasy football in cigar rooms.
The NYT article is tepidly, diplomatically titled: “Chinatown Gambling Raid May Reveal Cultural Divide”. No shit. How about: “Dick Moves All Around, With Racial Fuckery At Its Finest”.