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Chinese Liberal Democrats back local campaign for coffee shop vendor against developers

January 24, 2019 8:30 AM
By Larry Ngan

Frank WangFrank Wang, a local coffee cart owner in London was asked by Transport for London (TFL) to move his business away because a new developer wanted to open a restaurant right behind his stall.

Frank, who has been serving his very popular and reasonably priced coffee to Bethnal Green residents for more than 15 years says he has been subjected to verbal abuse from the developer and then when he refused to consent to give up the business he had built from scratch, said he got his electricity and water supply cut off.

The Local community got behind Frank and together with volunteers campaigned for this decision to be overturned and keep Frank's coffee cart going - the campaign has been waged against TFL for 6 months.

Chinese Liberal Democrats were right behind Frank and our co-founder Linda Chung spoke at the protest gathered on behalf of Frank and detailed in our blog post here:

https://chineselibdems.org.uk/en/article/2018/1274672/support-frank-wang-against-big-business-and-racist-threats

TFL finally caved in and allowed Frank to retain his spot but he was sadly unable to run his business again after he sold his coffee machine and cart in order to feed his family.

A new crowdfunding campaign was organised by volunteers in order to raise funds for Frank to buy a new coffee machine and a cart so he could restart his business. It received massive support from the local community and the Tower Hamlet Liberal Democrats. Chinese Liberal Democrats also made a contribution to support the campaign.

A thank you event was held in Bethnal Green on 17/01/2019 with Larry Ngan and Dennis Tam attending, representing CLDs.

During the event, the organiser Mr. Simon Woolley said '…. (TFL first suggested) Frank should find another spot… fast forward 6 months, and the guy came back to me and said you and Frank's supporters, with Frank energy is unbelievable. And they conceded to Frank and said that he's got good spirits and good friends.'

Frank said, '(As my mum taught me) It is a natural duty for human beings to help others… that's why I make sure my coffee is below £2, because people in my area are not rich at all.'

The campaign raised enough funding for Frank to repurchase the equipment he needs for the business and now he can serve the local community again with his new coffee cart.

If you are interested in the campaign, please visit the crowdfunding website:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-secure-franks-future

Larry Ngan

Membership Development Officer

Chinese Liberal Democrats