Oakland Chinatown merchants given air horns for protection

In efforts to help end violence against Asian Americans, volunteers came up with a creative idea implementing loud air horns to protect the merchants.

Video Transcript

DION LIM: Volunteers are giving business owners in the East Bay a new tool for protection, one that is bound to attract a lot of attention. ABC 7 news reporter, Cornell Barnard, joins us live in Oakland now with a story you will see only on ABC 7. Cornell.

CORNELL BARNARD: Dion, it's the newest nonviolent means of protection for those here in the Chinatown community.

[HORN SCREECHING]

Air horns. It could be the newest weapon against rising crime in Oakland's Chinatown community. And a warning,

[HORN SCREECHING]

it's incredibly loud.

- It works!

CORNELL BARNARD: Volunteers are fanning out, distributing air horns to Chinatown business owners. Many who have been the victim of violent crime. Asian-American seniors have also been targeted just walking down the street. Cheryl Ho from the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce demonstrated the air horn for jeweler, Lien Li.

CHERYL HO: If there's some trouble, you press itt. You keep pressing it very loud. People will come help you, you know. That's what we are hoping.

CORNELL BARNARD: Lien's been robbed more than once.

LIEN KIM LI: Yeah that why we, you know, we close the door. You see the wall? Terrible. Very sad.

RAY TONG: Criminals don't like sound. They don't like attention.

CORNELL BARNARD: The air horns are the idea of Milpitas construction contractor, Ray Tong, who was disgusted by the ongoing hate crimes. He raised $6,000 in private donations to buy more than 400 of the ear piercing gadgets, which he hopes will be an alert to all in the community.

RAY TONG: There's a network that we're trying to create, so that people know to immediately take out cameras and start filming. And that's what's going to help law enforcement.

CORNELL BARNARD: Business owners are being asked to post these flyers warning potential crooks about the air horn network. So far feedback has been positive.

- So far they seem to like the idea.

CHERYL HO: We want to make sure that our community knows that we're on alert. So we don't want any criminal activity going on here anymore.

CORNELL BARNARD: Yeah they're loud, and that's the idea, of course. 50 smaller air horns like these will be donated to citizen patrols here in Chinatown. Many hope they will help stop the violence here. For Live in Oakland, Cornell Bernard, ABC 7 News.

DION LIM: It is what we all hope, Cornell. Many thanks to you.