Chinatown bakery owner alarmed by gunman caught on camera

Chinatown bakery owner alarmed by gunman caught on camera
Published: Jun. 19, 2013 at 1:37 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 19, 2013 at 3:15 AM HST
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Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock
Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock

CHINATOWN (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Chinatown bakery owner is alarmed by what his surveillance cameras captured. The encounter involved one of his workers, but he is concerned about the entire community.

The owner of Otto Cake said he has dealt with threats from drug dealers and even assaults in the last year and a half. He installed several surveillance cameras a few months ago. His bakery is at the bottom of a building he said is frequented by criminals.

"A lot of people selling drugs, a lot of people trying to buy drugs, standing in the middle of the road, calling up at the building to get in," said Otto.

This latest incident, involving a weapon, took place during a busy First Friday in Chinatown. An employee closed up and walked out front to his car at about 10:30 p.m. on June 7. He told Otto that several people were waiting to enter the locked building.

The surveillance footage shows one man move in front of the worker's car. The video is grainy, but according to the employee, the guy showed off a gun tucked into his shorts.

"They were kind of blocking him to get in his vehicle and then he got in his vehicle and that's when they started taunting him. So they're staring at him in the front of the vehicle and then he starts kind of like lifting up his shirt with his hands, and then there was a gun in the waistband," said Otto.

Otto doesn't believe the man was targeting his bakery, but he is afraid that other people in the neighborhood may get hurt.

"The gentleman that we saw carrying the gun, he walks all over Chinatown selling, and I'm just scared," Otto said.

"You have legitimate business people who are always in fear when you have very aggressive criminals who are really threatening the business community," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business & Community Association.

Shubert-Kwock said other merchants experience similar problems, but are too scared to come forward.

"They're afraid to come out in public because they don't want to be identified or be tagged for reprisal or their windows broken or really becoming more of a threat to these folks," said Shubert-Kwock.

Otto said he has been attacked three times and one of his workers was assaulted. He has reached out to police, the city, and the Downtown Neighborhood Board for help.

"I just hope the right person sees this and can do something and want to do it and really clean up Chinatown finally," Otto said.

After four years in that spot on Smith Street, Otto is finally looking at relocating because of the threats. He is hoping to move his bakery to Kaimuki next month.

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