Louisiana Restaurant Owner Arrested in Arson Fire at Rival Eatery

A Kenner, La., restaurant owner was caught on videotape setting fire to a competitor’s restaurant, police say.

Mae Fong, 74, of Kenner, faces a charge of simple arson of Young’s Garden Chinese Restaurant.

Fong’s Chinese & Cantonese Restaurant is about a block away from Young’s restaurant.

Police Chief Steve Caraway said Fong was caught on video surveillance approaching Young’s on Oct. 2 after 3 a.m., about the time a liquid accelerant was used to start the fire.

The video was “extremely valuable” in solving the crime, Caraway said. “It’s hard to refute that type of evidence.”

Jefferson Parish arson investigator Todd Landry said investigators are still working to determine what kind of accelerant was used to start the fire.

Damage to Young’s was estimated at $50,000 to $60,000.

“It’s certainly very alarming,” Caraway said. He said Young’s is in a strip shopping center between a beauty supply store and a barroom. Neither building was damaged.

Caraway didn’t know Fong’s motive.

Young’s owner Julia Ieong was outside her restaurant Tuesday afternoon supervising the placement of a sign that advertised the building would “REOPEN A.S.A.P.” She said the restaurant will be open in about three or four weeks.

The fire started at the restaurant’s front doors, and the smoke, fire and water damage required the front room to be gutted, she said.

She wouldn’t comment on the video she provided to police or her relationship with the Fongs.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, www.nola.com