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'The Damage Has Been Done': Old Wounds Reopened For Philadelphia's Cambodian Community After Threatening Letter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Leaders in the South Philadelphia community are speaking out following a disturbing threat made to the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia. People in attendance of a rally Friday acknowledged police taking swift action in this instance in finding the person allegedly responsible for writing that hateful letter and impersonating a veteran.

An anonymous letter writer, angry over fireworks being set off at Mifflin Square Park, was received at the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia on Monday. It contained threats they say were ethnic intimidation.

Speakers at a rally Friday say that threat of gun violence was triggering to the Cambodian-American community in South Philly that have been discriminated against in their home country. Past traumas of displacement were reopened with that letter.

They contacted police, who got involved to support the fourth largest Cambodian population in the country.

Thursday night, police said their investigation revealed that they identified a 79-year-old woman who claimed to be the author of the letter.

"This strategically concocted and threatening letter has jeopardized the safety of our entire Cambodian community in the City of Philadelphia and all of the beautiful neighbors in this community -- not just Cambodians, all the neighbors in this community. Our Cambodian community -- our war refugees and survivors of genocide -- and the event of this week has retriggered a population who actually suffers from traumas of war and PTSD, and brought upon pain and mental distress. The damage has been done," CAGP Executive Director Saruan Chan said.

Police say that case has been turned over to the District Attorney's Office for further review and possible criminal charges.

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