By Jennifer 8. Lee | August 6, 2007
Peggy Lim of The News and Observer in North Carolina has put together a touching profile of Song Ni, 34, a Chinese restaurant owner who was fatally shot at the end of July in Stantonsburg, N.C. (population 800) during a robbery in his home. His wife and two daughters were in the other room. In so many ways, Song Ni’s story is the arc of the Chinese restaurant owner. He came from around the city of Fuzhou, he went to New York City as a Chinese restaurant worker and then scraped enough money to buy his own modest restaurant in a strip mall in North Carolina. North Carolina was supposed to be a lot safer than New York City.
Violence is an inevitable part of the Chinese restaurant industry. In talking to the Fujianese workers, everyone knows somebody who knows somebody — a cousin, a neighbor, a neighbor’s cousin — who was killed during a holdup, or a delivery. New York City averages about one dead deliveryman a year, which is why the NYPD went all out when looking for Ming Kuang Chen after he disappeared while making a delivery in the Bronx in 2005. They had helicopters in the sky, divers in the reservoir and canines sniffing through the apartment building. Three days later they found him. Alive. In the elevator.
(brief plug. My first interview as Chinese restaurant expert is in the sidebar)
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