A foreign reporter’s production team was robbed by armed thugs and lost thousands of dollars worth of equipment while filming a report of the California “utopia” for European audiences.
The incident occurred following efforts by California Democrats to clean San Francisco’s streets and remove homeless people from the city in preparation for Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s official visit this week.
Officials attempted to clear drug addicts, garbage, excrement, and the city’s nearly 8,000 homeless from the area around the conference center housing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
The cleanup efforts effectively created a California-style Potemkin village.
The city even removed all hints of Americana from the streets, which were instead crowded with Chinese communist flags.
The charade could not be sustained for long, however.
On Sunday, Czech reporter Bohumil Vostal dared to venture outside the APEC safe zone for some additional reporting in the city.
Vostal and his team were reporting on San Francisco’s alleged best features such as tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown.
Vostal, a correspondent for ČT24, sought to paint the crime-infested city in a positive light to conclude his report.
Vostal went to the famed City Lights bookstore for a “majestic shot,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
His hopes of helping to rehabilitate San Francisco’s reputation were hit with a swift reality check, however.
Three masked thugs swarmed the foreign reporter with guns drawn.
“They were heading at my cameraman, aiming a gun at his stomach, and one at my head,” said Vostal.
The San Francisco Police Department confirmed that it is investigating the armed robbery of the production team.
The incident occurred at 4:56 p.m. in the area of Broadway and Columbus Avenue, reported KTVU-TV.
The armed thugs, who fled the scene in a car, reportedly stole over $18,000 worth of equipment.
They also made off with Vostal’s footage of an idealized San Francisco fit for European audiences.
The footage reportedly included shots of the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square and transvestites in the so-called Transgender District near the Tenderloin.
“I’m one of those many people who used to read Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road,’ and I was so much looking forward to visiting your city,” said Vostal.
The Czech reporter revealed that the police had been helpful.
“All the people of San Francisco are almost blaming themselves like they are so sorry for something they didn’t do,” he said.
However, San Francisco voters appear to be glutens for punishment.
The city’s Democrat Mayor London Breed received 70.7% of the vote in the 2019 general election.
She also secured a plurality of votes in the 2018 special election.
The previous mayor, also a Democrat, won in a landslide.
Despite the setback, Vostal indicated on X: “We’ll keep shooting.
“We are here for the US President’s summit with the Chinese leader.
“And we’ll be there (as always) for CT.”
Thieves in San Francisco have robbed multiple news crews in recent years.
CNN senior national correspondent Kyung Lah got cleaned out by thugs in March.
Ironically, she was reporting on the city’s crime when she was robbed.
A KPIX-TV reporter covering crime in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood was robbed the previous spring.
Thieves have also reportedly taken to targeting engagement photo shoots in the city.
According to the SFPD, there have been 2,103 robberies and 5,223 burglaries since Jan. 1, 2023.
The city has also seen 31,251 reports of larceny theft so far in 2023.
The figure is an increase of over 4,000 incidents when compared to the same time last year.
San Francisco has also been home to 48 reported murders, 228 rapes, 5,477 motor vehicle thefts, and 2,306 assaults.
Neighborhood Scout puts the odds of falling victim to a property crime and to a violent crime at 1 in 20 and 1 in 186, respectively.