Frank Wang wins battle to keep his coffee stall outside Bethnal Green tube station
PUBLISHED: 10:04 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 05 October 2018
Frank Wang has won a victory to carry on dishing out coffee from his cart outside the entrance to the London Underground station at Bethnal Green.
He can stay put after a campaign by commuters who were frothing at the mouth when they heard in August about his stall having to close.
The commuters rallied with London’s Chinese community for a mass protest outside the entrance in Cambridge Heath Road after the electricity supply to the coffee stall from TfL was cut when the upmarket Chiringuito’s café opened a few feet away.
The rival café is housed in a converted toilet block owned by Tower Hamlets Council where Mr Wang got his electricity from by arrangement with TfL.
London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai handed a petition to City Hall calling for Frank to stay.
He heard this week from the Mayor of London’s Office that he doesn’t have to move and the ‘power’ issue has been resolved.
“The community was rightly outraged at suggestions that Mr Wang would have to shift,” Mr Desai said. “He’s has been an asset to the community for years and can now continue on his patch—this a testament to the spirit of the East End.”
Even Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, one of Frank’s long-standing customers, rallied to his support.
Mr Wang, a first-generation Chinese immigrant who set up his stall 15 years ago when the Central line was out of action for three months after a derailment, bought his own generator to stay in business after workmen cut the power line.
Word got round about his coffee stall and commuters stirred up a campaign alongside Chinese community leaders.
Edmund Yeo at London’s Chinese information centre said at the time: “It’s great to see people coming out to fight for this hard-working, good Chinese man.”
But Assembly Member Desai, whose east London constituency includes Bethnal Green, has now been given reassurances that the storm in a coffee cup has been settled with TfL and Mr Wang can carry on with his stall.