SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Two quick-thinking bystanders jumped into action in San Francisco's Japantown during a weekend car break-in.
Jeremy Jong and Hudson Liao are co-founders of a newly formed community safety group called Asians Are Strong. They had just finished teaching a free self-defense course, and were enjoying food and drinks at Pa'ina, when they witnessed a crime in progress. They said they didn't hesitate to do something.
Surveillance video from the restaurant shows one suspect running with a suitcase down Post Street. Moments later, another one follows and then a third suspect follows him.
The commotion caught the attention of staff at Pa'ina across the street. Jong, who co-owns the restaurant, and his friend Liao immediately ran across the street - even dodged car traffic - to catch up to the thieves.
"They saw me and I was chasing towards them. They immediately dropped the bags, as I was chasing towards them, the second they dropped the bags, they were pretty fast. They were already on the other side of the complex," explained Jong.
This happened last Sunday evening around 7:20 pm.
"I was yelling at him the whole time, 'I'm going to get you,' but he got away," said Liao. "I didn't think there was a getaway car, I was going to outrun him, and I told him, I'm not going to stop chasing him."
The suspects did get away, but not with any property, according to the pair. Jong and Liao said they were able to recover all the luggage belonging to tourists from Chicago. They said the group stopped for a meal in Japantown before heading to the airport.
"We're San Francisco natives and we hate what's happening to our city, and we hate that tourists come here - this used to be a great place to visit, great place to live, and it's gone downhill quick," said Liao. "We hate that and we want to make sure people come here, feel safe."
The rise in crimes against Asian Americans inspired Liao and Jong to create Asians Are Strong in March. They teach self-defense moves and courses for free. About two weeks ago, the group intervened in yet another car break-in at the same location. Video from Pa'ina shows them running toward a suspect. They said they held him down until police arrived, and also retrieved the victim's stolen bags.
"The amount of resources that are out, there's really no excuse to not know, speaking out, doing something, standing your ground," said Jong.
Asians Are Strong said even if you don't feel safe physically intervening during a crime, it's important to be prepared and always have situational awareness.
"We hope it doesn't happen to you. We hope you're never in this situation, but we also want to make sure you don't feel hopeless," said Liao.
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