Their hands were fast as lightning . . .
They would be the three martial artists who helped an agitated owner of a jewelry store foil an attempted armed robbery in Long Beach's Cambodia Town.
Thanks to the Good Samaritaninjas, one of three baddies is in custody.
Just before noon Monday, three men came into Vi
Mean Chey Jewelry, 200 E. Willard St., near the 1200 block of Anaheim Street, saying they wanted to buy gold chains. But one man pulled out a gun and hopped over the counter.
Owner Chhom Choy, who is a grandfather, began fighting off the intruder and a shot was fired in the scuffle. The gunman then tried to run out of the back of the shop, but there was no exit.
Martial arts masters Bunsong Seng and Sangva Chan Mam and their student Seiha Hak just happened to be in an adjacent store, having flown in from New York for the 25th anniversary of Khmer
kickboxing legend Oumry Ban's LBC studio.
The trio heard the commotion in the jewelry store and rushed over. By then, two of the would-be robbers were getting into a car, possibly a Ford Thunderbird, and driving off. But Hak managed to help Choy and other family members subdue the gunman, who possibly suffered a broken arm in the struggle.
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Once Seng, Mam and their mad skills joined the party, the suspect was not going anywhere until police arrived.
The arrestee, who was not identified, was taken to a local hospital, as was Choy, whose hand was injured either by fighting or getting grazed by the round that was fired. No one suffered life-threatening wounds.
The jewelry store's surveillance video should help police investigators, but the cop shop is also reaching out to the public for any information that can lead to the arrest of the outstanding baddies. Call the Long Beach Police Department robbery detail at 562.570.7464 if you can help.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.