Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Elderly Koreans as Criminals

By Walter Block

Private property rights, if not the be-all and end-all of civilization, at least come close.  As close as anything else anyone could mention. Without private property rights, barbarism will ensue. Private property rights are the thin blue line that allow for a civilized order. Without them, social interaction is all but impossible.

Who are the main violators of private property rights?  Heading the list, of course, is the government. But there are other “usual suspects”: young people, gang members, rapists, members of certain minority groups, murderers, thieves muggers, car-jackers, arsonists, the list goes on and on.

However, for those keeping score, we must now add a new group to this particular pantheon:  Elderly Koreans. What? Elderly Koreans? Have I taken leave of my senses? Will I next be blaming elderly Jewish grandmothers for their criminal activities, or, maybe, babies?
No, and no. No, I have not taken leave of my senses, at least not if reports emanating out of Queens, N.Y, can be believed, and, I have no present intention of doing any such thing.

What is going on here? It would appear that the McDonalds in Flushing, Queens, has been the long time victim of a conspiracy of elderly Korean trespassers. They patronize this restaurant early in the morning – as early as 5:00 a.m. – and stay there pretty much all day, nursing a cup of coffee for $1.09 and perhaps some French fries which cost $1.39. The restaurant has a seating limit of 20 minutes, but these “customers” ignore it with impunity.

And, believe it or not, they are insolent about this behavior of theirs, even self-righteous. According to one San Yong Park, when the police ask them to leave at the request of the burger emporium, “I will just listen to them (and depart the premises)… But I will come back inside after they leave.”  Says a fellow criminal of his, Man Hyung Lee, aged 77: “They (the police) ordered us out… So I left…. Then I walked around the block and came right back again.”
Yes, these old people more than wear out their welcome. The restaurant owners ask them to leave, after they have reached that 20 minute limit. They refuse. McDonalds calls the cops from the local 109th Precinct. The trespassers depart. But then, when the police are no longer there, they return to occupy these premises owned by others.
A word about that 20 minute limit. I have myself patronized McDonalds. Sometimes, it takes me as much as 30 or 40 minutes to enjoy my repast and depart. I have never been asked by any employee of that corporation to leave. I imagine that were these elderly Koreans to patronize the establishment at a time when there are few other customers, and even to stay for an hour or two, the owners would not object. But these senior citizens are escalating beyond all reasonable limits. Imagine, occupying the premises from 5:00 a.m. until after dark.
Nor is it the case that they have nowhere else to go. There is also a Korean Community Service center in Flushing which offers coffee for $.25, and imposes no time limits on imbibing. But that is not the point. Even if there were no other such alternatives, it would still not be justified for this group of people to effectively shut down an otherwise prosperous business (other customers complain and ask for refunds since they cannot sit down and enjoy their meals, due to the sit-ins).
One might be tempted to think that these trespassers came to the U.S. from North Korea, where private property rights are hardly known. But, no, at least some of them have immigrated from Seoul, and, presumably, many of the remainder have roots in that city or from somewhere else in South Korea.
How would these people like it if I, or someone from McDonalds, or any random stranger for that matter, were to enter their homes or businesses, and then refuse to leave when asked? Or, to improve the analogy, to indeed depart upon request, but then walk around the block before once again returning. And, to do this for the entire live long day? Presumably, they would not much enjoy that. Most probably, they would feel insulted, degraded, victimized, and certainly, these reactions would be entirely justified. Apparently, this type of walking in other people’s moccasins is alien to their thought patterns.
What should be done? If justice were to be served, of a certainty there would be no more of this business leaving when the police appear on the scene, and then walking around the block and then returning after the cops have once again departed. No, these miscreants would be summarily arrested, particularly for repeat offenders. They would be made to pay a fine, or see what the inside of the hoosegow looks like, while they cool their heels there. In prison, they could, presumably, linger over their coffee for hours on end.
Will this happen? Not bloody likely. To do anything like this would be a public relations nightmare for McDonalds. Who wants to be seen as fomenting the imprisonment of a bunch of elderly, well-dressed, very polite people?
What has been the reaction of the leaders of this community, politicians from the neighborhood? Have they remonstrated with these criminal trespassers? Have they told them they are giving a black eye to their community? Not a bit of it. Very much to the contrary, they have taken the side of the senior citizen interlopers, and have blamed the corporation for not having enough respect for the elderly. They have gone so far as to call for a boycott of McDonalds. How would these leaders of the community react if outsiders pulled the same sort of stunt in Korean owned businesses, such as restaurants or grocery stores? One wonders at the level of hypocrisy it is possible to reach.
At one time, during riots in New York City and elsewhere, Koreans, particularly those in the grocery business had a well-deserved reputation for taking the very opposite point of view:defending private property rights, not attempting to trash them.
But that was then, this is now. A previous generation of Korean-Americans knew full well of the benefits of private property. A significant segment of the modern generation, it would appear, just has no shame. The parallel, here, with the homosexual and feminist communities is ominous.
Dr. Block is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the UndefendableThe Case for DiscriminationLabor Economics From A Free Market PerspectiveBuilding Blocks for LibertyDiffering Worldviews in Higher Education, and The Privatization of Roads and Highways. His latest book is Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty.
The above originally appeared at

1 comment:


    "Residents without cars face a long walk or would be forced to pay higher prices at local convenience stores, said Lisa Wheeler-Brown."

    The Progressive Wing certainly has the solution here! The Koreans need a Korean McDonalds. Simple as that. Just build it.

    The article referenced above is about a Sweetbay Grocery Store closing and the ever so Progressives know just what to do! $1.35 Mill spent to guarantee that *Certain Voting Blocs* won't have to pay 79 cents for a can of peas that might cost 69 cents otherwise.

    Read that little "Oh-By-The-Way" figure again: "...representing a total investment of more than $200 million..."

    $200 MM!!! One might think that $200 MM is a mis-print. I'm not so sure that it is. I've seen first hand how that Burg throws away other people's money. Of course, the language is murdered again - It's an "Investment".

    Mebbe the Koreans should shop around a bit. If they're paying a coupla' bucks for a coffee and a pastry, they're not getting their monies worth.