A wave of Cambodian Americans came to the US in the 1980s escaping the brutal dictatorship of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Around 45,000 Cambodians settled in Long Beach, CA, about twenty miles south of Los Angeles. They lived in East Long Beach, where Mexicans had settled thirty years earlier. The newcomers were greeted with bullying and harassment by the mostly Mexican American gangs that dominated the area.
So the younger Cambodians teamed up with Laotian, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians to form new all-Asian gangs. We hear the stories of Alex Pham, known by his rapper name $tupid Young, and his father, Ricky Muth. They belonged to the same gang and they lived through the worst of the violence in Long Beach and in Cambodia. It turns out, Latino and Asian gang members have more in common than you’d think.
In the picture: Alex Pham, aka. $tupid Young in the center, Ricky Muth (Alex’s dad) to his right. Photo courtesy of America By the Numbers.