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Garden Grove ordinance targeting Vietnamese cafes takes effect

Garden Grove Ordinance No. 2792 A city ordinance aimed at curbing illegal activity in Garden Grove's Vietnamese coffeehouses went into effect Friday.

The Garden Grove Police Department, however, is still in the early stages of enforcing the law, which prohibits nudity and bans arcade games inside the cafes, said Capt. Todd Elgin of the Community Policing Bureau.  

The coffeehouses, which have proliferated in recent years, are known for strong Vietnamese coffee, pulsating music and waitresses clad in lacy lingerie.

Under the ordinance, cafe owners are required to remove any window tinting and to make sure women wear clothing that covers private parts.

On Thursday, the department hand-delivered letters of intent in English and in Vietnamese to each cafe. The letters summarized the changes to the ordinance, which was passed in May.

Police intend to meet next week to discuss a method of enforcement.

"I think we’re trying to be fair,"  Elgin said.  "Obviously this is going to be a shock to the system. We’ve already made enough waves."

In March, more than 150 federal and law enforcement officials raided the coffeehouses and seized 186 gambling machines police believe could be disguised as arcade games.

In one cafe alone, police found more than more than $35,000. Police also responded to reports of full nudity and cigarette smoking within the coffeehouses.

On Friday, many of the cafes, including Cafe Miss Cute, Stars Cafe and Cafe Di Vang 2, had yet to remove window tinting.

A waitress who declined to be identified at Cafe Miss Cutie said the tinting would be removed soon.

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

 
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