Chinese man arrested for creating fake Army unit in scam
Before Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor, turned Times Square from “Slime Square” to family-friendly Disney-icky, there were several establishments that purveyed counterfeit identification cards. My fav on “The Deuce” (W. 42nd St.) was a Vietnamese refugee-run “variety store” located where the Conde Nast (infested by “Condie Nasties”) building now stands on 7th Ave. between 42nd & 43rd. Want a “certain government agency” ID? NYPD Detective? No problem GI. Illegal keys (wink, wink)—see Our Good Friend the Shah’s former Iranian SAVAK lads across from Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT not PABR: Pabst Blue Ribbon beer). And the tokens from Triple Treat (adult) Theater and peep show worked fine in my Hells Kitchen barrio laundromat. Glory days.
Even after 9/11 websites and mail order catalogs, of dubious provenance, offer fake IDs. “Wannabes”—phony military veterans are excruciatingly irksome. Soldier of Fortune magazine www.sofmag.com highlights this issue, as do many books, articles, websites, and even legislation. During my travels in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central America, and assorted hot zones, I often wore genuine U.S. surplus rip-stop fatigue shirts, with cammie name strips to thwart local laundresses—but also jeans and indig hats. Good gear—and I didn’t want to be mistaken for a troopie by either good or bad guys. American tourists often mistook me for a Peace Corps volunteer. Good cover.
What I find curious about this tale—how did this guy get away with it? Parading around in paramilitary uniforms? Bay of Pigs and the CIA Cubans? Black Panthers and (alleged) jeep-mounted M-106 recoilless rifles? Timmy McVeigh and the OK City bombings? I see illegals exploited all the time in NYC: cab drivers, pizza delivery guys, whatever. This is not good.
Last summer a former business partner, who now lives in Las Vegas, and I pub-crawled Times Square. Las Vegas has changed too—in weird and wondrous ways. As we leaned against the statue base of Father Duffy, of the Fighting 69th, my friend looked about (if unfocused) and said: “Yup, Las Vegas!”