NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Hell’s Kitchen laundromat owner said he was punched repeatedly this week, after asking a homeless man to leave his business.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, Terence Liao – owner of Mr. Green Laundry at 670 Ninth Ave. – had a black eye, swollen cheeks, and an injury to his ear.
Surveillance video from around 5:35 p.m. Thursday showed Liao asking a man to leave. They are seen speaking for a bit, and then the man gets so close that Liao moves him back a little.
Eventually, the man looks like he is going to walk out. But the situation quickly grew far worse.
“I turned around to talk to my worker for a second, and the next thing I know, he clocks me and hits me a bunch of times,” Liao said.
The man threw a total of five punches, breaking Liao’s glasses in the process. A customer came to his aid and other neighbors came to help, but by then, the man had already left.
Outdoor surveillance video from a neighboring business provided a better look at the man’s face.
“He was actually here earlier in the day. He was like washing his hands in the sink with bleach,” Liao said. “At that point, I wasn’t really going to bother him.”
But as soon as another customer complained, Liao asked the man to go.
Alice Liao, Terence Liao’s mother and the co-owner of the laundromat, said she had seen the man in the laundromat a couple of times before.
Compassionate people, Liao and his mother allow the homeless to sit in the laundromat even if they are not washing any clothes – as long as they don’t bother anyone. But they noted that there has been an increase in the number of homeless coming around.
“They loiter. They leave stuff here — because it’s near Port Authority,” Terence Liao said.
Customers have also noticed. CBS2’s Gainer asked them whether Mayor Bill de Blasio should be doing more about it.
“They have to do a lot about that. They must, because people are in danger – the good citizens are in danger,” said Yolanda Inia.
“That’s a question that we all know the answers to, but nobody’s ready to say what it is,” said another customer.
Terence Liao and his mother agreed that the city can be taking better action.
“Certainly they can do something… I mean, the people pay the tax,” Alice Liao said.
“It’s something the city could do but I don’t know what the solution is to that,” Terence Liao said. “We have to be compassionate and stuff like that, but it’s detrimental to the business.”
And if it happens again, Liao said police might be called much sooner.