Saturday, June 22, 2024

Chinatown brawls leave behind a mess — that business owners are sick of cleaning up

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Crime and late-night fights continue to plague Chinatown.

And when the sun comes up, it’s local business owners who are paying the price.

When the owners of Valia Honolulu Boutique in Chinatown arrived at their shop Tuesday morning, they found the window shattered. But there were no signs of entry, and nothing was taken from the store.

“We had no idea how it had happened,” said owner Camille Heung, who says an explanation came after going through the security cameras.

It showed a brawl unfolding on Bethel Street early Sunday.

Another camera inside the store shows a man being thrown against the glass window of her boutique.

“It’s really hard to hold people accountable for this damage. It happened to us several times in the past, and we’ve shouldered the financial burden, and that’s why we decided to speak up,” she said.

Heung said that without insurance, replacing the window would cost around $12,000.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam. “We’re trying really hard to revitalize downtown, support our small businesses, and this kind of behavior sets us all back.”

Other businesses said fights when the area’s bars and clubs close are fairly common.

One employee who did not want to be on camera said that their store’s window was broken twice in the same month due to early morning altercations.

“We talked to HPD and said when the bars close at 2 a.m., that’s really when we really need the police down there, just to make sure everyone gets home safe and no one does anything stupid,” said Tam.

The owner of Valia Honolulu Boutique said she doesn’t want negativity in the area, but hopes it might cause people to think about their actions and the hurt they can cause to small business owners.

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