A man was gunned down in a popular Chinatown restaurant moments after he feuded with a couple who were waiting to order their dinner, police said Wednesday.
The victim, Ming Wang, 43, of Port Chester, had just sat down with the couple when they immediately started to argue.
The couple left the restaurant, Yung Sun Seafood Restaurant at 47 E. Broadway, but the man returned moments later and opened fire on Wang, killing him, police said.
The building that houses the restaurant was once used as a base of operations by Sister Ping, a notorious snakehead now on trial for allegedly smuggling thousands of Chinese immigrants into the country, according to courtroom testimony.
The gunman fled and was at large. Employees told police all three frequented the restaurant, and police said they are believed to have known each other. Authorities were investigating what led to the shooting.
The gunman is described as a man in his 40s, about 6 feet tall with a slim build, wearing a white T-shirt.
Wang was taken to NYU Downtown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Doctors told police he had between four and eight gunshot wounds on his body, including one to the back of the head, and others in his groin, in his left chest and right thigh.
According to witnesses in the Sister Ping case, the restaurant, which specializes in Fukienese food from her native Fujian province, was the first stop for illegal immigrants smuggled into the country. Weng Hui Lee, an admitted snakehead who once worked for Sister Ping, testified that when he successfully managed to smuggle his first group of immigrants into the United States, he brought them to the restaurant to show them off to her.
Police could not confirm that last night's shooting was in any way connected to the operations of Sister Ping, whose real name is Cheng Chui Ping.
Witnesses also testified that above the restaurant, Cheng ran an illicit money-wiring business from which she and fellow smugglers laundered proceeds.
Ah Kay, a Chinatown gangleader who worked with Ping, testified he and many Chinese immigrants used to visit Ping's travel agency in the building which served as a front for her money-remitting business.
In 1985, an East Broadway restaurant was the scene of a violent shoot-out between rival Chinatown gang members. Seven people were injured.