Archway Oriental supermarket defends decision to ID all customers before entry
- Credit: Tom Bartley
An Archway supermarket owner has defended his policy to ID customers, saying: “We don’t feel safe.”
Simon Wong, who runs Oriental Food in Junction Road, is making people buzz the shop door and show their ID before they are allowed entry.
He said he installed the system last summer after being abused and attacked by young people.
When the Gazette visited his shop on Friday, Mr Wong said: “We don’t feel safe letting people in freely without knowing who they are. Groups of schoolchildren used to regularly come in, being abusive and throwing rubbish in the shop.
“The road is a crime haven. We have had customers running into the shop asking for help before. They stole a helmet from inside the shop and even tried to steal my moped for deliveries, and were always giving me racist abuse.”
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Mr Wong, who said he called police four times in one week in September last year, believes race plays a huge part in his shop being targeted: “They only seems to go after minority shops. The Chinese students in the area also get a lot of grief – some of them even had stones thrown at them by local kids.
“I have had to take down the website because I was getting prank calls with fake orders. It has definitely affected the business, but we have to feel safe first.”
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But one long-term customer, who didn’t wish to be named, told the Gazette after being asked to show ID: “I have been in this shop tonnes of times before. He has always been very friendly, very nice, very helpful.
“My girlfriend and I tried to walk in and the door was closed. He came out saying: ‘No, no, no – you’re not coming in.’ He asked for photo ID. I was like: ‘You have given me recipes!’
“It’s such a weird thing, and sad because it’s the only supermarket like that in the area – and it’s really good! It would be a real shame if this continues.”
But Mr Wong countered: “We explained to customers why we do it. Some regulars get upset because we don’t always recognise their faces, but we ask everyone for identification to be fair.”
Though his measures have had a knock-on effect on business, Mr Wong said: “The boys are a lot quieter now. But I still fear for the safety of the residents and I will not be removing the lock until I feel completely safe.”