Posts Tagged ‘ vigilantes ’

Asian Vigilantes – Part III

Chinese community leaders met yesterday to discuss ways to distance their communities from Peter Low. And the chief executive of a broadcasting station wants an apology from the man who suggested using triads to combat crime.

“His (Peter Low) ideas of doing things is not the New Zealand way, and it certainly is not the Chinese way.

“He does not represent us or the Asian community.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10520648

Well it wasn’t like we didn’t see this coming!

Having had some first hande experience of working with Chinese in political groups, and there always seems to be one person pushing their own personal agenda who has a little clique around them talking them up – one minute they “speak for the whole community” next you find they’d be lucky to speak for their mates!

I’ll say it again ( because there’s been some comments claiming I am bagging ‘Asians’) The objectives on the web site were laudable, there are already groups within the community doing great work, and I think anything that invloves recent immigrants in working with fellow NZders to reduce crime is fantastic and to be encouraged. Triads and vigilantes on the other hand, are plain stupid, and Mr Low having lived here for 20 odd years should have known this would back fire.

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Asian Vigilantes – Part II

Last week I wrote about the AAG (Asian Anti Crime Group).

At the time I thought that perhaps the media was using the term vigilante, and that they were hyping things up when the group appeared to be about education and lobbying – nothing wrong with either although replication of efforts already underway. I wasn’t alone and I see Rabon Kan ( http://www.stuff.co.nz/4609463a1861.html ) also thought the same thing.

Unfortunately I was wrong. I see the groups organiser, Peter Low, has described the group as…

“We are a vigilante group and are training now”

“I want this group to be legalised. If they (the police) don’t allow it, that’s when we might have to employ Triads to protect our community”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10520221

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4609478a11.html

As this appears in both the Herald and Stuff.co.nz, it isn’t miss-interpretation. Peter Low is apparently from Singapore, and as English is essentially a first language there this hasn’t been ‘lost in translation’.

He comes across as a bit of a ranter (actually sounds a bit like an NZ First member, but that’s highly unlikely). The groups motives seemed worthy, but if they think somehow replacing local criminals with triads is a solution they have really lost the plot. Triads, if they even could be bothered operating here, would make the locals look like amateurs, so that doesn’t sound like a very well thought out solution. It’s possible all the attention is going to Mr Low’s head and he’s getting a bit carried away. Although if he gets really carried away the sight of Asians dressed in brightly coloured tights with funny helmets roaming South Auckland fighting crime would be a wondrous thing!

As I said last week, people would be far better off throwing their weight behind an existing group, ideally with their fellow New Zealanders.

Mr Low also says “This is non-profit, non-religion, non-politics and non-racist, It is open to all to become a member”– however if he was really serious about reaching out to all sections of New Zealand society then he wouldn’t have called it an Asian group.

I am guessing this group won’t be around in six months, sensible people Asian or otherwise, will likely gravitate towards existing groups, or someone claiming to be a member will do something silly that will isolate the group from the mainstream.

A pity, this is a wasted opportunity.

Asian Vigilantes Strike back

First off, I have no problem with people employing any means at their disposal in self defense. Vigilantism however, is a bit different. There is a fine line between self defence and preemptive action, and vigilantes can quickly cross that fine line taking justice into their own hands, this slips into a grey area where the crowd mentality descends into prejudice and suspicion, that isn’t justice or self defence, it’s mob rule. It may be that the media has chosen the word ‘vigilante’ when the group itself has not actually used this word – they should be correcting the media at every opportunity.

If your’e squemish, don’t check out this link, but this shows rather graphically what happens when people get really pissed about crime and take matters into their own hands… http://pakistaniat.com/2008/05/16/vigilante-justice-burnt-alive-karachi/comment-page-7/

It may well be that the Asians (mainly Chinese) who have got together to protect themselves are really just trying to help their fellow citizens avoid becoming victims, and clearly there’s nothing at all wrong with this. The website (curiously in English) http://www.aag.org.nz/faq.php seems reasonable enough, a pity the interviewees on radio and TV have sometimes verged on the slightly hysterical. I question why they feel that Asians (a pretty broad ethic generalisation) have specifically different requirements from any other ethnic group when it comes to dealing with the effects of crime. I can’t think of any, but I can sure think of some habits that ethnic Chinese immigrants have brought with them that would make them a target of crime – like the weakness for carrying large amounts of cash around with them.

The ‘rest of us’ (the group has introduced the distinction, so for this post I’ll stick with it) don’t walk around carrying (often) tens of thousands of dollars in cash, I personally very rarely carry cash at all. There is really no need to, you can comfortably get by using electronic transactions whether they be card or web based without needing to use cash at all. If any other ethnic group displayed a predilection for carrying and hoarding cash then without doubt it would be the target of crime. The reasons why people persist in using cash when it is not really required could be debated, lets just say, electronic transactions are traceable by agencies like the IRD, and that may be one reason.

This sort of crime is nothing new, it isn’t recent or unique to New Zealand. In parts of Asia you need to be pretty careful about what you do and when, with the exception being Singapore – but even they have crime. In every situation it requires you to do as the locals do and exercise common sense.

That’s not to say we should just accept crime, clearly we shouldn’t, but equally no one should put themselves in position where they attract the attention of criminals.

The events of the last few weeks have been appalling and its good that the ‘Asian’ community has become active in the law and order debate. What I saw when Yin Ping Yang and Joanne Wang were murdered, was not a crime against Asians or Chinese, but a crime against a fellow New Zealander.

It would be better for NZders of Asian ethnicity to join the groups established by their fellow New Zealanders rather than form their own thus perpetuating what seems to be a social isolation from other New Zealanders. This way they could have added their voices to the debate about law and order issues, and learned from the experiences of the rest of us. One of the best ways of dealing with this problem is for all New Zealanders to work together as a common group, not a disparate ethnic groups. We are all victims of crime.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”

Confucius