LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas AAPI community is disturbed and worried after an attack left a business owner seriously hurt at a boba tea shop. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said the man arrested was hurling anti-Asian slurs at workers there before the attack and is now facing hate crime charges.
LVMPD is calling this attack an isolated incident involving anti-Asian bias.
In 2020, the agency says of the 32 reported hate incidents, only one was considered anti-Asian. There are data available for three-quarters of 2021, and during that time 25 hate incidents were reported. Only one of those was related to anti-Asian hate.
Colin Fukunaga was stunned to learn about the attack Friday evening on a boba shop owner in the southwest.
“I was baffled that this could happen here," he said.
He went to Cloud Tea to check on the workers there.
“Just wanted to offer my hearts to those guys. I think the owner was in the hospital,” he said.
LVMPD says the business owner suffered serious injuries from the attack and did get treated. He was attacked by a man who, earlier that day, was hurling anti-Asian slurs at workers there. Officers arrested the man. Fukunaga says it’s shameful to hear, but an opportunity for awareness for AAPI business owners.
“I hope it’s just an isolated one where we can use it as a tool for learning,” he said.
Fukunaga is the owner of Fukuburger, which has a location in Chinatown. He’s worked with his landlord to add more surveillance cameras at his businesses as a measure of security against crime. He’s seen a difference.
“We’ve seen the amount of break-ins in cars dramatically decrease,” he said.
He also says LVMPD has done work to build relationships by having quarterly meetings with Chinatown business owners. While officers say the number of anti-Asian hate crimes has been rare, Fukunaga believes those stats may be off.
“Crimes are underreported. I feel like it’s a problem, and it’s very problematic,” he said.
Within much of the AAPI community, it comes rooted in language barriers or inherent mistrust of police after immigrating from authoritarian regimes. LVMPD acknowledges the obstacles.
“The delay an interpreter causes can be troublesome, but I really want to tell you guys we’d rather have that delay than no call at all. We cannot help what we don’t know,” said Capt. Michelle Tavarez of LVMPD's Spring Valley Area Command.
Fukunaga says by having AAPI business owners speak up, it’s a way to stop AAPI hate.
“We’re not going to take this sitting down. We’re all going to come together and fight this,” he said.
The man arrested was identified by police as 36-year-old Anthony Joseph Dishari. He faces a number of charges including hate crime and attempted robbery. He still remains in jail.