OAKLAND -- People in Chinatown took a stand against violence on members of the Asian community Wednesday night during a fundraiser for the widow of a Beijing native who was robbed of $17 and killed in downtown Oakland last month.
Jinghong Kang, 45, a network engineer for ITT in Virginia, was in Oakland on the night of July 18 because he was set to interview for a job with Google in Mountain View the next day.
Police said George Huggins, 24, and his girlfriend, Althea Housley, 33, of Oakland, approached Kang and his friend Hai Huang as they were walking to Kang's car in the 1900 block of Webster Street at 11:30 p.m. July 18 and demanded cash at gunpoint.
After Kang gave the two the $17 in his pocket, Huggins "for no apparent reason" shot Kang three times, killing him, court records show. The suspects were arrested, with the help of a video captured by a local merchant's security system, and charged with murder.
Longtime community activist Carl Chan organized the fundraiser as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that the city's Asian and black communities remain committed to valuing and respecting one another, he said. The suspects are both black.
"Our hope is not only about raising money, but about raising awareness to work together to stop violence on the streets. I think it's important for all of us, in Chinatown, downtown or in the hills area, to all work together no matter where the crime is," said Chan, the chairman for the Chinatown Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council and a board member of the Asian Advisory Committee on Crime.
Kang and wife Wendy Wang had been married for 19 years and have three sons, 10, 12 and 17 as well as two financially dependent senior parents, now in Wang's financial care.
Kang was generous in giving money to his church and had canceled his life insurance to help others, a friend said. The family did not have enough money for his funeral.
Chan wasn't sure how much money was raised Wednesday but said he would have a count later in the week. The Oakland firefighters also presented Wang with a check.
Stan Kiang, vice president of the Organization of Chinese-Americans East Bay, told Wang, "Although, we live 3,000 miles apart you are part of our community here and we want to express our deepest condolences."
The killing came just a few months after Tiansheng Yu, a 59-year-old San Francisco resident and who was Asian, was beaten to death when he confronted two men who had beaten his adult son near the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland.
Both men have been charged in his death. Yu's widow also attended the event Wednesday.
The fundraiser brought out several dozen people, police and firefighters involved in handling the crimes and supporters from all over the Bay Area, Chan said.
"This is obviously an incident that shocked not only the Asian community but the entire community in Oakland and we can tell by the turnout tonight that a lot of people care," Kiang said.
Oakland police credited the community for helping to identifying the suspects in both incidents.
"So much energy is placed on blaming other communities and pointing fingers," Kiang said, "but instead we need to put energy into putting the finger on these parasitic thugs that control the community right now."
To make a donation, mail a check payable to The Church in Dunn Loring to the following address: The Church in Dunn Loring, 2317 Morgan Lane, Dunn Loring, VA 22027. Include "Jinghong Kang Family Fund" in the check's memo line.