By Duchess of Hackney

Hackney livin' n lovin'. Sarky frosty knickers always gobby, and perpetually pissed off for good reasons. Wind up merchant extraordinaire, but a nice old fashioned unusually unusual gal... Writing lots of wrongs.

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UKBA, Met Police, immigration and banned products raid on Dalston fake hair “beauty” shop

UKBA, Met Police, immigration and banned products raid on Dalston fake hair “beauty” shop

Photo from Laurie Penny’s Twitter account @PennyRed

It would be very funny if it wasn’t so serious.

The image of a surprise immigration raid on a shop owned and staffed by Asian men who speak poor English and make a fortune from Black women’s insecurities, by selling cheap fake hair and wigs to undiscerning women is comical.

The raid went down around lunch time last Thursday at the Beauty Queen Cosmetic store on Kingsland High Street and was witnessed by many, including New Statesman Journalist and annoying agitator, Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) who live tweeted a running commentary as it happened. I didn’t become aware of it until Sunday afternoon (I don’t follow Ms Penny or her ilk) after Hackney Unites posted a link to their blog post titled State sponsored racism come to Hackney“.  Penny, who once compared the protests over rising tuition fees to the Arab Spring, claimed in her tweets police were arresting people who couldn’t produce ID or who questioned what they (law enforcement) were doing. Not so. Only people arrested were two male employees of Beauty Queen Cosmetics.

There was no “Go Home” van in Dalston on Thursday afternoon, however there was a police presence along with UKBA officials, but to hear Hackney Unites and Penny, you would think the operation was a targeted onslaught on brown skin people in the borough. Hackney Unite did what they do best:

“Our communities are still being menaced by a scheme that seems less intelligence-led and more a ‘brown-faced, foreign accent’ crack down.

Who can doubt that this campaign of harassment of whole communities, which by implication targets all people of colour, is a conscious response by a weak government to the electoral threat they perceive from UKIP. It seems they are trying to prove their racist credentials to their core voters in the shire counties.

We at Hackney Unites condemn this action in our communities. We live in a diverse and mixed community and welcome the richness this brings to all our lives.  However, this government-sanctioned ‘spot the wrong un’ only serves to create division and suspicions amongst local people”.

Banned and illegal products seized from one of the beauty shops.

Banned and illegal products seized from one of the beauty shops.

There is no denying the Home Offices recent heavy immigration clamp down is part of  Teresa May and her bosses desperate strategy to claw back votes from UKIP, but what Hackney Unite and Laurie Penny failed to mention (or refused to) is that this raid was most likely intelligence led and they weren’t stopping black or brown people willy nilly on the street asking them for ID or about their immigration status. Another raid was conducted at another store in Ridley market where trading standards officer seized a shed load of counterfeit, banned and illegal products.






Raids like these aren’t new to Hackney.  Earlier this year in May at the nearby Paks, another Asian owned fake hair and “beauty” store on Ridley Road. Six people were arrested. Another raid in 2011 was carried out in conjunction with Hackney Police, Hackney Council and UKBA.

Since I started typing this, The Hackney Gazette have reported on it, telling a slightly different story. I suspect their information came from a press release:

Suspected unlicensed medicines and banned skin lightening products were seized from two Dalston premises last Thursday, and four men were arrested for immigration offences.

Around 3,000 steroid products – which should only be available on prescription – and, approximately 1,000 counterfeit skin lightening products, including facial whitening creams and soaps, were allegedly found.

A policewoman was stopping customers entering one of the targeted shops, Beauty Queens Cosmetics in Kingsland High Street.

The operation was carried out by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement, working with Hackney Council and the Dalston Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

Sooooo what we had folks, wasn’t your run of the mill immigration raids. Make what you want of it.

Back in 2010 I made no secret of my anger that led me to boycott PAK’s, although to be honest I don’t buy from any of the similar stores and go out of my way to buy my hair products from Black owned businesses or companies that hire women or men that know something about black hair and the products I need.

Now that Beauty Queens Cosmetics are short of a few members of staff, they might want to consider hiring some local  women who know a thing about skin and hair care. That goes for PAK’s and all the others.

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