Delegation To Go To Los Angeles To Seek Riot Compensation With AM-LA Riot, Bjt
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea will send a delegation to Los Angeles to seek compensation for thousands of Korean immigrants who suffered in last week’s Los Angeles riots, the government said Sunday.
Church groups, meanwhile, launched collections for their countrymen, and riot police remained on alert at U.S. military installations in case of possible conflicts between Koreans and black American soldiers.
The riots erupted last week after four white policemen were acquitted in the beating of a black motorist. But some black anger was directed at shops in Koreatown, where about 400,000 Koreans live or do business.
Tensions have been high between Koreans and blacks not only in Los Angeles but in other major U.S. cities where the two groups live near one another. Blacks resent the Koreans’ success as shopkeepers in minority neighborhoods, and complain that Korean merchants charge high prices and treat them poorly.
More than 1.4 million ethnic Koreans live in U.S. cities, and roughly 75 percent of their businesses are located in or near black areas.
In last week’s violence, a 19-year-old Korean student was shot to death, 30 Koreans hospitalized and dozens more injured, said the Foreign Ministry. It said more than 850 Korean stores were looted and burned and property damage exceeded $200 million.
″Damage was more than physical, but the collapse of the American dream,″ said Parliament Speaker Park Jyun-kyu in announcing that the government would seek compensation.
The Foreign Ministry said a delegation headed by Assistant Foreign Minister Ho Seung would fly to Los Angeles Monday to meet with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, California Gov. Pete Wilson and other U.S. officials.
The ministry did not say how much compensation was sought.
Also Sunday, Christian and Buddhist organizations launched campaigns to collect donations to help Koreans in Los Angeles rebuild.
Riot police at U.S. military installations also remained on alert for a second day and U.S. military police patrols were increased in Itaewon, an entertainment and shopping area near by U.S. 8th Army base in Seoul.
Itaewon has been the site of many past confrontations between young Koreans and American soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Beijing government, itself a frequent target of U.S. criticism over human rights, expressed concern for Chinese, Taiwanese and people of Chinese descent who suffered in the riots.
″The massive racial conflict in Los Angeles, U.S.A., is something unfortunate. But it is not accidental,″ an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Xinhua paraphrased the spokesman as saying the turmoil ″reveals that human rights violations such as serious racial discrimination and abuse of force by police do exist in the U.S.A.″