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LOS ANGELES : Break on Loans Sought for Two-Time Disaster Victims

March 18, 1994

Saying that many Korean American merchants have suffered more than their share of economic damage and personal anguish during the last two years, a Korean American advocacy group Thursday called on the federal government to forgive payment on federal riot disaster loans to merchants who were "double victims" of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and 1994 Northridge earthquake.

"We're calling for the Small Business Administration to think of this as an investment in the community," said Bong Hwan Kim, executive director of the Korean Youth & Community Center.

As many as 200 Korean Americans whose businesses were looted or set on fire during the riots also suffered damage to their homes or businesses in the Jan. 17 quake, Kim said.

Reaction to the loan forgiveness plea was lukewarm among other speakers Thursday.

Korean-American Grocers' Victims Assn. President Jae Yul Kim, who received approval for a $400,000 federal riot disaster loan, suffered $4,000 in earthquake damage to personal possessions.

Kim, who has been unable to reopen his South-Central mini-market because of opposition from community activists seeking to limit inner city liquor licenses, said he would be satisfied if the SBA postponed monthly riot loan payments until he can start a new business.

"In my case, the American government is helping good, helping real good," he said. "The community, they don't want a liquor store."

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