KTVU Under Fire for Racial Insensitvity

ktvu-racist-namesAs the staff members of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Asiana Airways investigate the cause of the Asian Air Flight 214 crash-landing, Bay Area affiliate KTVU Channel 2 News mistakenly released bogus and racially offensive pilots’ names on the air.

On July 12th — less than one week from the July 6th runway accident — news anchor Tori Campbell released “new information” about the Asiana pilots.  The names read and shown on the air were “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.” Realizing that this was a race-deriding prank soon after, KTVU issued an apology: “Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for this error.”

The NTSB first denied releasing the names of pilots, but later found that a summer intern had erroneously confirmed the names over the phone, and had acted “outside the scope of his authority.”

Asiana Airways planned to sue KTVU, stating the offensive report has damaged the reputation of the company and pilots. On July 17th, they decided to drop their lawsuit.

The flight from Incheon, South Korea to San Francisco, Calif. carried 291 passengers on board — 141 of whom were Chinese, including a group of students heading to summer camp. The flight slammed into a seawall, claiming the lives of three Chinese students ages 15 to 16, and injuring dozens more.

‘Blessing’ Scammers Target Elderly Chinese Women

Kon Yin Wong survived the “blessing scam.”
Kon Yin Wong survived the “blessing scam.”

Disrespecting Asian elders has a new name. They’re called “blessing scams,” according to a recent National Public Radio (NPR) report, one that targets elderly Chinese women in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and New York Chinatowns.

Scurvy scammers have used this technique like so: after informing the victim of her imminent misfortune, the scammers convince her to collect all her valuables in a bag and pray over it, while thieves take the bag, replace it with an identical one and warn the victim not to open the bag for a few days.

Elderly Chinese women can be viewed as easy targets due to old cultural superstitions and the tendency to store cash at home versus putting it in a bank. According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, more than 50 in the city have reported being scammed this past year, totaling $1.5 million in losses.
City governments in prevalent areas have invested in education and awareness efforts to prevent further scamming.

Some women, like Kon Yin Wong, have come close to becoming the prey for these petty criminals. The scammers exploited Wong in a San Francisco farmer’s market, warning of tragedy for her family, who convinced her to see a doctor who would help her right away.

“I was so scared that I wanted to kneel on the ground to beg for the doctor to help me,” said Wong.

Thankfully, as Wong left to gather her precious belongings, she remembered hearing about the scammers in the news. Wong helped the police capture the criminals and the stolen money was returned later thate day.

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