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Hate Crime Not Ruled Out in Thai Restaurant That Was Attacked Two Days in a Row in Huntington Park

2:28 PM PDT on March 26, 2021

hese kinds of things shouldn't happen.”

The owner of Ariya Thai Kitchen, Garan Khaownimon, describes how his restaurant was targeted two days in a row this week. 

On Monday, March 22, around 10 AM, Khaownimon recalls arriving at his restaurant on East Gage Avenue and Pacific Boulevard in Huntington Park when he noticed that his windows had been shattered.   

“I talked to the neighbor who is across the street from us, and they told me they got there at 3:30 AM, and they didn't see or hear anything,” he said over the phone. 

Khaownimon eventually called the police and reported the incident. The 48-year-old man said although he was not hurt by what happened, he also didn't think much about the situation at first. He said he initially thought it was just young kids in the area that may have broken his window. 

“That day, we called the contractor to come put up plywood, and we just continued the day like normal,” he said. 

But the next day, around 6 AM, he was woken up by a call from the police saying his restaurant had been broken into again. He said nothing seemed to be missing from the restaurant. The only damage was the glass which was completely shattered by what he thinks was a pellet gun. 

He said the police suggested that maybe an angry customer could've done it but told him it could’ve been anybody. To which he said: “I've been here for eight years, and I treat my customers and everybody very nice and nothing like this has ever happened, especially back to back.” 

His daughter pointed out on Twitter how she couldn't help but wonder if the attack had anything to do with the recent hate crimes against the AAPI community. 

https://twitter.com/bbymochhiii/status/1374914241300336646?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Khaownimon doesn’t rule out any hate crime, but he does wonder if it could've been a customer who came into the restaurant a week ago refusing to wear a mask. He had to ask the customer to step outside, and he said the customer yelled at him, saying, “just go make my food.”

“So maybe it could be that guy, but I don't know, and I don't want to say, but sometimes you look at all the attacks on the Asian community, and you do wonder,” he said. 

Total repairs cost him $1,000, and although the experience was unpleasant, he said the business would run as usual. Supporters on Twitter asked his daughter if they could make any donations to the restaurant, but she said thankfully they did not need any financial help. Instead, she suggested they could donate to an AAPI foundation

“I would just say for everybody to do their part, to protect each other and to be polite with each other. The last thing I want to do is upset anyone.”

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