PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Slapped with 30 fines that range from $300 to $2,000, owner of Good Luck Chinese Food Takeout on 60th Street in West Philadelphia said she has been forced to close her business.
“I’m so sad I can’t do nothing,” said Ling Lin.
Her restaurant was cited through a quality of life ordinance that doesn’t allow restaurants in residential areas to be open past 11 p.m.
“I seen two different judge. The judge checked a map and check location and said, ‘You is a commercial street,'” added Lin, “They threw out all the tickets.”
Even though a judge dismissed all her tickets, because the ordinance didn’t apply to her location, she claims officers kept coming to cite her.
“The police said I doesn’t care about it,” added Lin.
Ling Lin’s restaurant is just one of dozens dealing with these tickets.
The owner of Peking Inn on Catherine Street told Eyewitness News in Chinese, the enforcement of the ordinance seems to be selective against Chinese restaurants.
Since 2005 he’s received dozens of $2,000 violations, while the pizza shop next door has never received one.
We confirmed that and that the pizzeria stays open just as late.
“In 2015 96 percent violation notices were given to only Chinese take-out restaurants,” said Philadelphia Councilman David Oh.
Councilman Oh’s office is spearheading a revamp of the ordinance after collecting data that appears to back up the concern from Chinese food restaurant owners that they are being unfairly targeted.
“We are certainly aware of that perception and we take that very seriously. It is certainly not our intent to apply any type of law enforcement in a discriminatory manner,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew. “In fact to that end a couple of weeks back one of our deputy commissioners sent down an order suspending that particular ordinance to close at 11pm while we look at it.”
The ordinance has been temporarily suspended by police while City Council works to revamp it and work to try and ensure it is applied without discrimination.
To that end Councilman Oh’s office has a rally scheduled for Thursday at 9am at City Hall, to unite against discrimination.