‘I’m so scared, angry’: Downtown Nanaimo restaurant considers closing after three break-ins in one month

'I'm so scared, angry': Downtown Nanaimo restaurant considers closing after three break-ins in one month

Kwak Kihong was visibly sad as he worked in his Nanaimo restaurant Friday, Nanda Korean Fried Chicken. His Wallace Street restaurant had just been hit by a third break-in in just over a month, and the owner told CHEK News he was devastated to be considering closing his doors.

“I’m so scared, angry, it’s too much,” said Kihong.

Before the break-ins, he was was also dealing with fires being set on his downtown restaurant’s back wall and doorstep, and he told CHEK News he was losing hope it will get better.

“I think this year is my end time…. I’m so scared,” said Kihong.

Just steps away on Victoria Crescent on Friday, crews were taking down awnings on buildings to reduce loitering and the growing rash of fires being set beneath them.

“We are cutting the awning because people are basically making fire underneath, so for safety issues we have to remove,” said contractor Omar Barrintos.

Victoria Crescent business owner Dave Lawrence said it’s a feature on his barbershop that he will miss, but that the fires have been “frightening.”

“That is one of my greatest fears that I have, is the amount of fires that they have right at my door,” said Lawrence, owner of That 50’s Barber Shop.

The MGM Restaurant was also hit by a break in on Wednesday, but on social media, Tricia Samaroo insisted their family business isn’t going anywhere, despite the social disorder that’s impacting Nanaimo’s downtown, writing: “We love you Nanaimo. Even when you’re being a jerk.”

Samaroo told CHEK News the message was intended to calm a concerning anger that’s been bubbling up in this opioid crisis.

“I’ve been noticing a concerning anger swelling in our community and it really makes me sad because I really love this town. We’ve been at this location at the MGM for 40 years and so we’ve seen the changes, we know,” said Samaroo, a co-owner of MGM Restaurant.

So she encourages people to keep trying during this difficult time and hopes those who live in Nanaimo will support businesses like Nanda Chicken that are struggling to stay open, but still are here, year after year.

RELATED: 25 commercial break-and-enters reported in first week of 2024: Nanaimo RCMP

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