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Asian American Business Council Updates the Public on Recent Email Hoax     

(Houston, TX) – Members of the Asian American Business Council (AABC) held a regularly scheduled meeting on Friday amidst an email hoax that claimed of bold robberies at two Asian restaurants in the southwest “Asiatown” area.   Law enforcement agencies including Houston Police Department and Harris County Constable, Precinct 5, independently investigated and interviewed restaurant owners.  They have firmly concluded that the robberies involving groups of at least ten, masked men, never occurred.  However, AABC regrets that the rumors have already caused irreparable damage to the innocent business owners in the area.   Unfortunately, three years of diligent work by AABC’s Safety Committee may have to be reintroduced to the public.   

The Safety Committee developed a crime prevention handbook in 2007, and has also held many public meetings to address public safety and awareness issues.  What is most disconcerting to AABC is the nonchalant manner in which the false robberies were fabricated, as well as the ignorant way in which the public helped spread the rumor.  AABC members reported receiving calls from friends as far away as New York who became unwilling recipients of the emails.  “If only good deeds and good news were spread that quickly and widely” was the feeling of the members. 

Efforts to trace the originator of the email have been ramped up, as the Greater Sharpstown Management District sent a letter to the Houston office of the FBI.  The letter seeks FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Russell Robinson, to help investigate this cyber crime so that the perpetrator(s) could be brought to justice swiftly.  The FBI must first determine if federal laws were violated, and is currently working with the Department of Justice before launching into an investigation.  Meanwhile, AABC strongly urged the public to think before they act the next time they receive these email blasts.  The public is encouraged to check out the facts and avoid being party to spreading rumors.

AABC has made a formal request to Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt, inviting them to schedule another town hall meeting with members of the Asian American community.  In addition, AABC would like to encourage the public to report actual crimes and to continue to stay aware of surroundings and avoid traveling alone late at night.  Finally, AABC urges property owners to keep properties well-lit and consider using other security measures such as private security or cameras.

Established in 2005, AABC is comprised of local commercial property owners and developers, bankers and business owners with the shared mission of beautifying, improving the safety and security of the area, as well as promoting the “Asiatown” area’s opportunities for business development and growth.

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