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Korean Stores Firebombed; 2 of 3 Hit Have Seen Black Boycotts

Three Korean-owned stores in South-Central Los Angeles--including two being boycotted by blacks--were firebombed overnight, police and a merchant said Saturday.

Police Lt. Joe Ramm said “some type of incendiary device” was hurled about 2:15 a.m. at the front doors of Chung’s Liquor Store in the 7900 block of Western Avenue. A single company of firefighters was able to douse the small fire in 17 minutes, and damage was minor, authorities said.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Aug. 21, 1991 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 21, 1991 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 2 Metro Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Trial date--A story in The Times Aug. 18 incorrectly stated the date for the trial of Korean-American grocer Soon Ja Du in the fatal shooting of Latasha Harlins. The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 26 in Compton.

No one was in the store at the time of the firebombing, Ramm said.

The store has been boycotted and picketed by a group of black religious and civic activists since the Korean-born owner shot and killed a black customer in a struggle during an alleged attempted robbery June 4. The district attorney’s office found that the killing was justified and did not file criminal charges against the owner.

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The store was hit June 18 by a Molotov cocktail that did no damage. The protesters have said their tactics do not include firebombings or violence.

Saturday, city Fire Department spokesman Pat Marek said firefighters also responded to a small fire at a convenience store at the intersection of Figueroa Street and 91st Place. The blaze was out by the time the fire company arrived, he said.

Marek said arson investigators were not called to the scene and there was “no indication” that the store had been firebombed.

A merchant from the area said two Korean-owned stores near 91st and Figueroa were firebombed overnight. One was the now-closed Empire Liquor Market Deli, where on March 17, owner Soon Ja Du shot and killed a 15-year-old black girl, Latasha Harlins.

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Du entered a not guilty plea to murder charges, and a trial is scheduled to start Monday.


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