Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 05:39:14 -0700 (PDT)

Asian High School students charge harassment by Irvine's finest

Irvine -- Appearing on this evening's KUCI public affairs program "Subversity" to tell their story in a KUCI exclusive, several Korean American students from various Irvine high schools relate their recent harrowing experience with the planned community's police department's newly created "Special Enforcement Team," a six-member anti-gang unit. The topic: "Police Harassment in Irvine: Is Asian Pride a new gang?"

The teenage boys, who say they were interrogated about their ethnicity and pride in being Asian, and labelled gang members despite their denials, will be interviewed by Subversity host Daniel C. Tsang. The show airs this evening from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County.

Ironically the students say they were on their way to the Harvest Festival, to participate in celebrations of the city's 25th anniversary. Irvine touts itself as the nation's "safest city" in terms of FBI violent crime statistics. Critics, however, wonder at what cost. An Irvine city council appearance by show host Tsang earlier this year was dismissed by the police chief, who told the council he had not received any complaints about harassment of Asians. One councillor suggested it was time to show off the city's new anti-gang suppression unit.

Listeners can call the show to air their views at (714) 824-KUCI. A Know Your Rights card (from AWARE, the Alliance Working for Asian Rights and Empowerment) is also available by calling (714) 597 9766. Subversity last covered this topic with the broadcast of an ACLU press conference earlier this year when the ACLU won a $85,000 settlement in a case involving five Southeast Asian high school girls against Garden Grove Police Department. In that settlement, the police there agreed strict guidelines on field interviews, including not rummaging through one's wallets or asking any further questions about gang affiliations when the detainee says there is none.

For more information, contact Tsang at (714) 824-4978 or e-mail him at