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Saturday, January 18, 2003


My apologies for any offensive stereotypes the following article (and subsequent comments) might seem to engender:

L.A. Official Calls for Probe of Internet Cafes

By Ben Berkowitz

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles city councilman has called for an investigation of violence at so-called Internet cafes, a step that could prompt a crackdown on the popular and controversial sites for PC-based games.

The investigation of the cybercafes, also known as "PC bangs" or "cybercafes," came after a brawl erupted between rival groups playing in a tournament involving the online combat game "Counter Strike."

Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said on Thursday he plans to introduce a motion at a hearing next week asking for a report from the Los Angeles Police Department on recent outbreaks of violence at cybercafes.

One unidentified teenager was shot in the leg on Monday outside an Internet cafe in Northridge, a suburb that is part of Los Angeles. A second youth was struck in the head, reportedly with a chair.

OK, so at this point in reading the article, I'm thinking, "Hmm... Didn't know the Crips and Bloods could be such major l33t h@x0rz. But later on in the article...


Much of the violence at Orange County cybercafes has been blamed on Asian gang disputes. The Northridge brawl is also being investigated by a Los Angeles police unit that investigates Asian gang-related crimes.

"Gang violence can occur anywhere but what gang members do is they identify locations where people congregate and then they want to put a stranglehold on and take over," Zine, a former LAPD officer, told Reuters.

Zine has said he was concerned that Internet cafes featuring violent games had become unsafe for the minors who frequent them and raised the prospect of imposing an age restriction on the businesses.

O........K. I guess I see now. I was a bit mistaken about this gang violence. But why aren't these Asian gangs being given any national media attention? Just asking.

And just because for white folk like me, hearing about Asians engaging in organized crime is a bit odd. Absurd even. The only gangs you tend to see on TV and in movies are black, Latino, or of the old-school Italian mafia. Of course I've heard about the Yakuza in Japan and the Triad in China, but here in America? It just doesn't fit the stereotype (computer/math whiz, cello player, etc.). Well, I guess the computer part fits in this case. ;-)

So anyway, I guess I have a lot to learn.

Please send all complaints to the webmaster. He really didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings.



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