Author Topic: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs  (Read 153 times)

Elano

  • Guest
Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« on: November 12, 2007, 08:53:38 AM »
Stylish throngs with dough pour into the area. So do muggers and killers

“It’s a rough neighborhood,” concedes the doorman, a tall, heavily tattooed ex-New Yorker named Neal Schofield.

Francisco Sanchez, 29, smokes outside, near street signs in Korean and Spanish, and puts it another way: “A lot of bars, you find some real douche bags. Here the douche bags aren’t allowed in, because they don’t know the password.”

It’s not so much the douche bags that are a worry, it’s the gangsters. In Koreatown these days, predatory hoodlums — including both Asian and Latino gang members — seem to be waging a high-stakes game of one-upmanship with the monied forces of new development.

K-town, as locals call it, is emerging as one of Los Angeles’ hottest nightspots. Wealth from Seoul, flowing in at record levels, has given flower to residential towers, karaoke bars and pulsating clubs. Awash in neon, jam-packed with trilevel mini-malls and traffic, the district is L.A.’s closest thing to the noir, futuristic vision of Blade Runner.

Rich young Koreans with tricked-out Nissans and SUVs line up to enter places like KarNak and the Velvet Room. Westside yuppies, drawn by the area’s exotic allure, cruise in to dine under the glow of hanging paper lanterns; you can pay $49.99 for a plate of halibut sashimi or sea cucumber.

All the while, Koreatown is grappling with what some say is worsening street violence. During the first two weeks of October, within a mile radius of one gleaming block of high-rises on Wilshire Boulevard, there were 11 aggravated assaults, seven violent robberies and a murder, according to Los Angeles Police Department crime maps. Some attacks are gang on gang, but innocent diners and club-hoppers are also targets. Flashy young Koreans, in particular, are a temptation to bad guys because of their cultural affinity for carrying cash.

“You don’t want to walk around in Koreatown — it’s dangerous,” says Lily Kim, 33, a reporter for the 200,000-circulation Korea Times. “I write those crime stories.”

Every Christmas, she writes about savvy gangsters and muggers who make holiday “business trips” to Koreatown to prey on locals, Kim says. Ethnic conflicts give rise to even more outbreaks of violence.

“Korean pop culture is really popular right now,” Kim goes on. “A lot of Vietnamese and Chinese come to Koreatown.” They don’t always mix well with young Koreans who are also liquored up. “They are young and stupid... There are fistfights and stabbings.”

Yet Koreatown’s rich ethnic mix is also part of its draw. Despite its name, half the population is Latino, a fourth is Korean, and the rest is “Nicaraguan, Bangladeshi, Ukrainian, Pakistani, Khazakstan” and more, says Grace E. Yoo, executive director of the Korean American Coalition’s L.A. chapter. “It’s not white, black, brown and yellow. It’s so much more.”

New condos are priced up to a staggering $1 million, and the flow of dollars got a huge boost in January, when the South Korean government tripled its foreign investment limit for Koreans — to $3 million, Yoo says. Yet pockets of Koreatown still have some of the city’s lowest rents, and the area has yet to address its drifting garbage, abandoned sofas and filthy sidewalks. Racial tensions and simmering economic desperation create a frightening vibe that visitors and residents alike can feel.

“Where there’s money you’re going to find people trying to take advantage of that — in positive and negative ways,” says Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents much of the area. “We know we need to step up and increase the presence of police.” Nor is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s theory of “smart growth” panning out, as massive new Koreatown rental buildings attract car-driving residents who eschew the bus and feed the gridlock that has grown markedly worse under Villaraigosa’s two-year construction push.

Heather Hammill, a 28-year-old graphic designer, rented one of K-town’s cheap studios for $495 a month in 2002. She moved last year, glad to pay $200 more in Silver Lake. Among other unwelcome experiences, she had her clunky Toyota stolen by a man who apparently needed it to attend a bail hearing — his court papers were still in the car when police recovered it.

A dearth of parking amid the increasingly dense three- and four-story apartment houses and mini-malls means residents sometimes walk a dozen or more blocks to get home, she says. “I would park and see people trashed coming out of bars, and people sleeping on the curbs,” she says. One night, Hammill recalls hearing an “atomic” explosion as a minivan creamed a parked car on Third Street. The drunken driver emerged and proceeded to urinate on his own van.

“He had this glazed look and couldn’t focus,” Hammill says. “It’s amazing. I have hundreds of stories like that.”

A young professional named Mark, who rents in Koreatown, says he heard the gunfire from a recent murder and, like Hammill, is trying to move. Two killings hit his block last month, he says. Though never assaulted, he is so fearful of reprisals that he won’t give his full name, expressing concern that muggers might steal his wallet, learn his identity and punish him.

“This [crime] run that we’re on right now feels a whole lot more threatening than ever before,” he says. Blocks north of Wilshire are heavily tagged by 18th Street gangsters. “I’ve seen these guys tag on shrubs,” Mark says. “It’s unbelievable. On October 3, there were three violent robberies on the same day... probably a block away from each other. Were the cops just taking reports and driving away? Abandoning the neighborhood?”


THE LAPD’S SUCCESS IN QUELLING rising tag teams and driving out gangs has been spotty at best. But in Koreatown, the problems are exacerbated by language barriers, distrust of authority and nonsensical precinct boundaries that divvy up the vast district, just west of downtown, among the LAPD’s Wilshire, Rampart and Hollywood divisions. Many incidents are thought to go unreported because victims don’t speak English, or they have a cultural aversion to calling out the cavalry. Some are illegals.

Consequently, it’s tricky to identify the worst crime hot spots. After National Public Radio reported on a spike in violence in Koreatown a year ago, the LAPD Web site offered a defensive rebuttal, claiming there had been 533 fewer serious crimes than in 2005 — a 12 percent decline. The purported trend did not apply to murders, however, since a triple slaying at a Koreatown restaurant bumped up the year-to-year death toll from 15 to 21, according to the LAPD’s own data. On April 12, 2006, the Weekly reported on a spate of horrific murder-suicides ("Community in Pain") and other brutal killings ("A Cheap Life,") that rocked Koreatown last year. (The LAPD did not respond to requests from the L.A. Weekly seeking fresh crime data for 2007.)

Tensions between Koreatown residents and the police have been entrenched at least since the 1992 riots, when many buildings were burned to the ground. Residents have pushed for their own police station, with the expected opening of a $30 million facility on Vermont Avenue next summer.

Optimists like Laura Ramirez, who opened the R Bar six months ago with two partners, see an enormous opportunity and say the street thugs have not been an issue.

“There’s construction going on everywhere,” she says. “There’s the renovation of old apartment buildings. There’s the Wilshire/Vermont subway stop. It’s cool to see. It’s cool to be a part of that.”

At Frank N Hank’s, a dive bar on Western Avenue, the weekday crowd voices similar sentiments — albeit cautiously. “It seems iffy,” Dennis Wolfe, a young Westsider, says of the street outside. But he’s here all the same, laughing it up with pals Jeremy Rabb and Alexandra Fulton.

Rabb, from New York, compares Koreatown to parts of Manhattan. Fulton says she loves that it’s funky. “I parked down the street; I didn’t feel nervous,” she says, then adds, “I mean, I didn’t park six blocks away.”

Bicoastal music filmmaker James Salkind spoke of the new vitality spreading from Hollywood, Echo Park, Los Feliz and Silver Lake, converging on Koreatown. He thinks it’s going to get better and better. Overhearing him, a group of women agree.

“But,” says Chris Anderson, a vice president of Frederick’s of Hollywood, holding a cocktail, “we’re mentally prepared to lose a handbag.”
 

Mackin

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3124
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Karma: 1027
  • Can I Live Simply,So That Others can Simply Live..
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2007, 09:03:14 AM »
Thanks for the Info!!!
It ain't happenin, Bibles I'm still packin them
And jackin demons wit them 44 magnums" T-Bone

 

Don Rizzle

  • Capo Di Tutti Capi
  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4485
  • Karma: -4
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2007, 09:25:42 AM »
I'm in the biggest Korea town of them all Seoul (3rd largest city in ther world), but maybe its differnet here as its probably the safest place i've ever been. What is funny about about some Koreans they copy hip hop culture and clothing and don't understand that Korean women hate it so they never even get a dance. Whereas i'm the white guy I can dance with any women I like, I just have to keep myaself in check because i'm very happy with my current girlfriend.

iraq would just get annexed by iran


That would be a great solution.  If Iran and the majority of Iraqi's are pleased with it, then why shouldn't they do it?
 

LooN3y

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4568
  • Karma: -310
  • Paid Tha Cost 2 Be Tha Boss
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2007, 12:59:51 PM »
I'm in the biggest Korea town of them all Seoul (3rd largest city in ther world), but maybe its differnet here as its probably the safest place i've ever been. What is funny about about some Koreans they copy hip hop culture and clothing and don't understand that Korean women hate it so they never even get a dance. Whereas i'm the white guy I can dance with any women I like, I just have to keep myaself in check because i'm very happy with my current girlfriend.



thats in korea... thats totally different. he was talkin bout koreatown in LA. seol wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea. the thing is koreans and korean americnas is differnt. lol they overexaggerate it, its no worse than canoga park or van nuys
818

Tha Reella - Slap A Nigga Up Like Wyatt Earp / Sig downsized, too big.
 

boycriedwolf619

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1758
  • Karma: 163
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2007, 01:12:14 PM »
I'm in the biggest Korea town of them all Seoul (3rd largest city in ther world), but maybe its differnet here as its probably the safest place i've ever been. What is funny about about some Koreans they copy hip hop culture and clothing and don't understand that Korean women hate it so they never even get a dance. Whereas i'm the white guy I can dance with any women I like, I just have to keep myaself in check because i'm very happy with my current girlfriend.
Maybe its because your white. Asian women crave for white men
 

Elano

  • Guest
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2007, 01:43:54 PM »
seoul wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea.

really ?  :D :D :D
 

LooN3y

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4568
  • Karma: -310
  • Paid Tha Cost 2 Be Tha Boss
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2007, 03:09:39 PM »
seoul wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea.

really ?  :D :D :D

yea? its like would a town in japan be called lil tokyo
818

Tha Reella - Slap A Nigga Up Like Wyatt Earp / Sig downsized, too big.
 

Mr. O

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3266
  • Karma: 123
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2007, 06:22:20 PM »
I'm in the biggest Korea town of them all Seoul (3rd largest city in ther world), but maybe its differnet here as its probably the safest place i've ever been. What is funny about about some Koreans they copy hip hop culture and clothing and don't understand that Korean women hate it so they never even get a dance. Whereas i'm the white guy I can dance with any women I like, I just have to keep myaself in check because i'm very happy with my current girlfriend.



thats in korea... thats totally different. he was talkin bout koreatown in LA. seol wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea. the thing is koreans and korean americnas is differnt. lol they overexaggerate it, its no worse than canoga park or van nuys
I have agree with you on this.
[flash=200,200<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/AlIxU8SiFZU?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/AlIxU8SiFZU?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/flash]
 

Elano

  • Guest
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 05:16:53 AM »
seoul wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea.

really ?  :D :D :D

yea? its like would a town in japan be called lil tokyo

LMAO. I knew it dude
 

LooN3y

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4568
  • Karma: -310
  • Paid Tha Cost 2 Be Tha Boss
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 01:43:02 PM »
seoul wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea.

really ?  :D :D :D

yea? its like would a town in japan be called lil tokyo

LMAO. I knew it dude

knew what? do we call TJ or cancun mexican town? do we call cities in africa black town? y dont we juz call all our cities in america white town.
818

Tha Reella - Slap A Nigga Up Like Wyatt Earp / Sig downsized, too big.
 

Mackin

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3124
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Karma: 1027
  • Can I Live Simply,So That Others can Simply Live..
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 06:58:59 PM »
Dudes Got a Point^^

It ain't happenin, Bibles I'm still packin them
And jackin demons wit them 44 magnums" T-Bone

 

Elano

  • Guest
Re: Koreatown: Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2007, 12:03:50 AM »
seoul wouldnt be considered korea town...since its in korea.

really ?  :D :D :D

yea? its like would a town in japan be called lil tokyo

LMAO. I knew it dude

knew what?

SORRY but i can't help you if you don't understand a couple of simple words