Crackdown on Unlicensed Vendors on Canal Street
From Sing Tao Daily
July 16, 2004

Every weekend or holiday, street vendors selling paintings and counterfeit products overcrowd the sidewalks of Canal Street, raising public safety issues as they occupy parts of the street and cause traffic jams.

The Fifth Precinct, which covers Chinatown, conducts constant crackdowns on unlicensed vendors on Canal Street. To avoid penalties while still maintaining their business, many vendors have been securing spots on the west side of Broadway, which is overseen by the First Precinct. Recently both precincts have decided to join together to crack down on unlawful vendors in the area.

On July 15, several undercover police officers from the Fifth Precinct cited an unlicensed vendor on Centre Street, who was selling paintings. He was issued two tickets and his property was confiscated after he failed to show a license.
According to a police officer, the vendor has been issued many warnings before the citation but refused to cooperate. He added that many vendors on Canal Street are very familiar with the rules but often ignore them.

Ms. Chen, the owner of a store selling souvenirs and accessories on Canal Street, applauded the joint effort by the two precincts. She said more than 50 vendors gather around the corner of Broadway and Canal Street every weekend, overcrowding the sidewalks. In addition, many cars turn onto Canal Street from Broadway, making the spot dangerous for both cars and pedestrians.

“They are not helping my business,” Chen said angrily. “Many tourists get annoyed by the crowd and would walk faster, passing the stores without buying anything.” She also said some tourists only buy from the vendors, which directly affect her business. Most storeowners in Chinatown agreed.

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Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.

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