7/30/2003 12:46pm, #1
Slaying unsettles a Common ritual
Tai Chi comrades of victim alter some routines
By C. Kalimah Redd, Globe Correspondent, 7/30/2003
They start at the break of day before most power-walkers or commuters have hit the pavement, bands of older Chinese residents converging on Boston Common to exercise and chat. Many practice graceful routines of tai chi, an ancient form of martial arts. Others take brisk walks, circling the Frog Pond and scaling the State House hill.
Sheng Hao Tang, 70, was among this group until Sunday, when he was beaten to death on his way home from his morning constitutional. His killing has sent shock waves of fear among this community of older Chinese residents who frequent the park, finding it a social refuge. Some say they are less carefree since Tang's death. Many have changed their routes walking to and from the park, avoiding secluded areas and frequently looking over their shoulders. Police are also stepping up patrols of the area. ''Every day we would pass by that spot where Mr. Tang was brutalized,'' said Chu Tihuan, 90. ''Now, we go around the Loews [theater] and pass the Ritz Carlton'' hotel. Others, hoping there is safety in numbers, are arriving at the park later, when the area streets are busier. Yesterday, some were reluctant to talk to a reporter, speaking only through an interpreter and then giving only last names.
Mr. Chan said he used to arrive at 5 a.m. After Sunday's attack, his daughter scolded him for continuing to visit the Common so early. ''Now, I come at 5:30,'' Chan said yesterday on his way back home at around 8 a.m. Yesterday, news of Tang's violent death still dominated conversations at the park. Groups of 70-plus residents, some walking with canes but most strolling sturdily, pointed in the direction of the attack on Tamworth Street and wondered why Tang was killed. ''I want to know, how did no one see this?'' said Yung Chuiyu, who is 80. She stopped for a moment in the middle of a stroll with friends to comment on the slaying. ''He was a nice and vibrant man,'' said Mrs. Liu, 72, who also was at the park with friends. ''They beat him senseless. It boggles the mind.''
Police continued to search yesterday for the man who assaulted Tang and left him bleeding in the middle of the narrow alleyway near the intersection of Tamworth and Boylston streets on Sunday, shortly before 8 a.m. Police said witnesses described the attacker as a dark-skinned black man 25 to 35 years old and about 6 feet tall, with short hair and a scruffy beard. Tang's family said he carried no wallet and only a small amount of money. Police said robbery was the motive for the attack. The last time a homicide occurred in Chinatown was July 2001, said Boston Police Captain Bernard O'Rourke, who commands Area A, including Chinatown. Tang's death has prompted police to step up patrols, he said yesterday. In May and June, the area saw a surge in the number of robberies, from about four per month to about eight a month, O'Rourke said. To combat the increase, police have stepped up warrant and drug arrests as well as adding patrols, O'Rourke said.
''We were starting to see a decrease, and then we had the death of this elderly man, which has been frustrating and a real tragedy,'' O'Rourke said. In the past, some elderly park-goers said they had been targeted for light harassment from people who appeared homeless. Most of the time, they were simply asked for money and rarely felt seriously threatened - until Sunday. Married and a father of five, Tang spent most of his life as a cook in China. He joined his family in Boston in 1991 and worked part-time in a flour factory in Chinatown for a few years before retiring. His wife still travels back and forth from China. Despite the fears spawned by Tang's slaying, some residents said they were determined to continue with their exercises.
''For older people it's better for the bones,'' said Chuiyu, while flexing her arms. And many of the exercisers said they do not want to lose their social time at the park. Several men sat on a green park bench talking yesterday while, across the path, women chatted. ''We're old,'' joked Mr. Leung. ''We have nothing to do, so we come.''
C. Kalimah Redd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.globe.com/dailyglobe2/211/metro/Slaying_unsettles_a_Common_ritual+.shtmlKungfoolss, Scourge of the theory-based stylists, Most Feared man at Bullshido.com, and the Preeminent Force in the martial arts political arena
7/30/2003 3:41pm, #2
yea for boston!!!!!
it sucks...going from chinatown to the common you have to pass by some pretty shitty characters...i don't know why, but there is a little section where there is always hoes, crackheads, junkies and trannies. Everytime i walk past them i thinmk "It's go time"....
Anyone who makes a quick movement near me is going to get kicked in the face----WTDudeThere is no cheating, there is only jiu-jitsu.