Local Asian restaurant owners are picking up the pieces after thieves broke into three restaurants, stole money and destroyed property on New Year celebrations, the most important holiday in Chinese culture.

The same group of thieves hit a restaurant called Urban Hot Pot, Kung Fu Tea, and Bonchon.

Zong Chen is the owner of the latter two at the Columbia Mall. He said the past year has been tough for business and he feels that they aimed to be Asian.

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“It’s a shame to be a victim now,” said Chen. “We all have families. We are all just trying to make money and make a living for our families. “

This break-in marks the third time that Chen’s stores have been robbed.

Last summer there was a break in at Kung Fu Tea in Rockville. A few weeks later, the kung fu tea in Laurel was also hit.

“We came to America to find better opportunities and to have better lives,” said Chen.

Asian restaurants attacked: In the early morning of the Lunar New Year, three Asian restaurants in the mall in Columbia were broken into, according to Howard Co Police. Today I spoke to Zong Chen, the owner of Kung Fu Tea & Bonchon. He fears they have been targeted as Asians. Story by 5 / 6p @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/V9aVMrJrKY

– Aimee Cho (@ AimeeCho4) February 15, 2021

Bonchon and Kung Fu Tea have repaired their damage and are now open for business. For the entire month of February, restaurants plan to donate 10% of their sales to raise awareness of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Nearly two dozen attacks have been committed in the San Francisco Bay Area in the past few weeks. People threw plants at Asian residents and seniors were knocked to the ground.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased since the coronavirus hit the US last year. Amanda Nguyen, CEO of civil rights group Rise, recently told LX News why “Asian Americans are out to be heard”.

John Yang, the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said the organization is tracking hate incidents and has seen more than 3,000 since the pandemic began.

“It scares the Asian-American community really often,” said Yang. “The fact that certain politicians, including the former president, used terms like the China virus and the Wuhan smoke and worse derivatives, really got our community to do so.” a goal to be made. “

No arrests were made in the robberies, but Chen said he hoped to further raise awareness.

“The more we don’t talk about it, the more it will happen,” said Chen.