Tennis Instructor Booked on Child Endangerment Charges

Arrest follows two citations Friday by Palo Alto police

Police arrested a tennis instructor in Palo Alto Monday on suspicion of multiple child endangerment charges after he allegedly left adolescents and young teens alone during an attempt to possibly evade police.

Song Jian Wu, 47, a San Jose resident, was detained and booked Monday afternoon on nine counts of child endangerment. That followed a separate encounter with police last week when he was cited on suspicion of operating without a business permit and giving false information to a police officer.

Police first engaged Wu Friday at 10:56 a.m. after a call from a tennis player at who claimed the instructor was hogging all of the courts with his tennis class, police spokesperson Sandra Brown said.

Officers showed up and questioned Wu, who apparently was teaching the students, all between 8 and 13-years-old, without a proper business license or permit, Brown said. He also gave police the run-around, Brown said, when they asked who he was, eventually giving a false name. Police later cited him on both violations and left the scene.

On Monday, police received a similar call from a tennis player at Cubberley Community Center. Again, Wu had allegedly commandeered all of the courts for his tennis class, for which he charged roughly $20 per student, Brown said. As police arrived on the scene, one officer spotted Wu leaving the area in a car. 

"We got out there and he took off," Brown said. "At the time, we had no reason to believe he had committed a crime, so we let him go."

The officers could not track him down, but later discovered that he had left five of his students unsupervised on the courts. When questioned, the students told police that Wu had taken his remaining four students with him, Brown.

So police pulled his number from Friday's record and called him.

"We ended up finding out he and the other kids were at the tennis courts in Rengstorff Park," Brown said. "Then he left them there, alone, to come meet us at Cubberley. We arrested him on nine counts of child endangerment."

Wu was booked in to Santa Clara County Jail Monday night. A spokesperson from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Officer could not be reached to comment on Wu's bail status or when he is scheduled for arraignment. 

Mark Weiss August 11, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Or was he teaching his young charges a controversial service called "The Oliver Twist'? (and yes it took me 16 minutes to think of these)
Rebecca Sanders August 11, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Mark you are really on a roll there buddy!
Mark Weiss August 11, 2011 at 10:20 PM
They broke up his racket. (Not that I am soft on issues of children's welfare, but something about this report rankles me: how much endangerment is it to leave tennis players alone in our parks? Also, I wonder about the xenophobia. On the other hand, I have wanted to interrupt some private tennis lessons on public courts; it is okay to teach on Gunn or Paly courts, I think, in contrast).
Jeffrey Kolence August 11, 2011 at 11:50 PM
I don't think Palo Alto parks tennis courts should be used by individuals for monatary gain.
Mark Weiss August 12, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Palo Alto Weekly's Sue Drennan got this right in that she interviewed Wu and described his frustrations trying to get Shia Geminder of the City to give him or explain to him the proper permits. Wu further claims that his lack of great communication skills as a foreign born U.S. citizen contributed to the problem, which he characterizes as a misunderstanding. There are rules for how to best allocate our recreational facilities, yes, but for this to become a police matter regarding children's welfare to me, based on the facts reported, is a mis-carriage of justice, mis-use of the color of authority, and probably racist. At worst it should be a matter for the Rec Commission. In the Weekly's article, some of the parents laud him for his commitment to their kids, as a teacher. Maybe Banks Albach can call around and add to his story, or subtract, or retract, as necessary.


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