By Joe Anuta
The new executive officer at the 109th Precinct aims to use his own immigrant experience to help connect with the diverse population he will help protect.
Capt. Tommy Ng moved into his new office last week and said he can identify with many residents in the area since he moved to the country from Hong Kong when he was 16.
“It helps me to understand what an immigrant feels like,” he said at the precinct, at 37-05 Union St., where he also discussed recent crimes plaguing the area.
Ng is fluent in Cantonese and is proficient in Mandarin.
“I think I can be beneficial with my bilingual skills,” he said.
The 109th Precinct — which covers the neighborhoods of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace — is one of the most diverse in the city, according to Ng, and comes with a different set of problems than his previous post at the 111th Precinct, which encompasses neighborhoods farther east in the borough.
He is taking the spot of Capt. Christopher Manson, and will assist Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire, the commanding officer at the station.
As executive officer, Ng will be overseeing the policing of grand larcenies, burglaries and accidents in the area, and he would like to see a reduction in the amount of pedestrians struck by vehicles in the downtown Flushing area.
To combat the preventable accidents, Ng hopes to continue to do outreach in the community and already planned to visit the Flushing Chinese Business Association, a prominent Chinese community group, to introduce himself.
In addition, Ng wanted to alert the community about recurring crimes in several neighborhoods in the precinct and deferred to Crime Prevention Officer Anthony LoVerme for details.
A common crime plaguing small businesses throughout the precinct, but especially in the downtown Flushing area, is the theft of electronics and pocketbooks, according to LoVerme. Typically, thieves come in pairs or groups to a counter at a small shop and, while one person distracts an employee, the other reaches around and takes whatever property he or she can find.
For example, on Oct. 2 at about 4 p.m., an iPhone was stolen from behind the counter of a dentist’s office near the corner of 41st Road and Main Street while an employee talked with what the victim thought was a gregarious patient. The precinct urged workers in small businesses not to charge their expensive phones in places where they can be snatched by anyone walking in the door.
In addition, LoVerme described an ongoing scam that is being perpetrated in Flushing, where groups of people approach elderly residents in the Chinese and Korean communities and offer to ward off bad luck by taking a sack of money from them and praying over it for a period of time, yet according to LoVerme the sacks of cash are often returned to the elderly residents empty.
On Sunday, three 50-year-old women approached a 64-year-old woman on Main Street and offered to ward off any bad luck, according to LoVerme. The woman handed over a sack full of $7,000 and some gold jewelry. Later that day when she got back the sack, it only contained a bottle of water and a newspaper, according to LoVerme.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.