14:39 PM

UHD, HCSO and HPD Host Town Hall Meeting for Chinese Community on Safety, Crime Prevention

Approximately 100 individuals from Houston's Chinese and Taiwanese communities gathered for a town hall meeting Saturday - hosted by UHD, the Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and the Houston Police Department (HPD) - to learn crime prevention tips and receive an update on the recent, unsolved murders of a Chinese-American family in Cypress.

The event marked the first time the three organizations have collaborated to both educate and seek information from these communities pertaining to a recent crime.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia addressed attendees and answered questions about recent crime reports in Chinatown, located in southwest Houston. He also reassured the group that the HCSO is actively pursuing all leads in the Cypress murder case and encouraged the community to come forward with any leads that may assist in the case.

Commenting to KHOU-Channel 11, Garcia said, "It's bad enough that two adults were found dead - but even worse, two small children both under the age of 10. As a daddy myself, this especially strikes a nerve for me."

He continued, "Rest assured, our investigators will find the person(s) responsible and bring justice to the family."

Garcia reached out to Hsiao-Ming Wang, associate professor of criminal justice at UHD and director of the Bayou Connection program, for help in gathering the Chinese community for the event. Wang also served as moderator for the meeting, which included a panel of 10 law enforcement officers and criminal justice professors.

Barbara Belbot, chair of criminal justice at UHD, and Gregory Fremin, captain of the HPD Northeast Patrol Command and current UHD criminal justice graduate student, also addressed attendees.

Other panelists included HPD Assistant Chief John Chen; John Chi, deputy director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston; HCSO Major Michael Wong; and Assistant Chief George Buenik of the HPD West Patrol Command. Mark Kellar and Janice Ahmad, associate professors of criminal justice at UHD, also attended the event and provided their expert opinion to media.

"It is extremely important for us to partner with the city's top law enforcement agencies, especially in tragic cases such as the Cypress murders, to bring justice to the family and help prevent future crime," said Wang. "HCSO and HPD have a strong connection with the Chinese community in Houston and this town hall meeting further cements that relationship, while helping to advance this important criminal investigation. UHD will continue to assist HCSO and HPD in helping to unite the community in solving the case."

 Hsiao-Ming Wang, UHD assistant professor of criminal justice, served as moderator for the town hall meeting.

 A panel of law enforcement officers and criminal justice professors addressed attendees. 

HCSO Sgt. Felipe Rivera (second from left), head of the recent Cypress murders case, stands with colleagues at the town hall meeting. .

Barbara Belbot, chair of criminal justice at UHD, served as a panelist with Gregory Fremin, HPD captain and current UHD criminal justice graduate student.