Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with more accurate information from the Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYCSF).
San Francisco police have announced that they have identified the elderly Chinese man who was robbed and assaulted on the street while collecting recyclables in the Bayview neighborhood. The man’s name has not been released to the public.
⚠️ UPDATE ⚠️
Victim has been IDENTIFIED
Thank you everyone for your assistance. We cannot express how appreciative we are of the outpouring of support from the community in helping us accomplish this. #sf #SanFrancisco #BayArea #sfpd pic.twitter.com/UejTF8SkaL
— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) February 26, 2020
Here are five facts to know about the man in the video:
1. He collects cans to support himself and his wife.
The man is in his 70s, originally from Kaiping, China, has lived in San Francisco for six years, and supports himself and his wife by collecting cans. His wife also works in home health care, according to KPIX 5.
2. He told investigators he was hit in the head and robbed.
SFPD investigators spoke to the man on Wednesday who told him he was hit on the head and robbed of his cans. He described himself as being shocked and confused during the assault. He also stressed that there were several people in the neighborhood, many of whom are Black, who were very friendly to him and even helped him collect cans, and that it was only a few people who had surrounded and assaulted him.
3. He was found on Wednesday morning collecting more cans.
The man brings his cans to a recycling center in San Francisco once a week, but they have not seen him since he was attacked, according to ABC7 San Francisco reporter Anser Hassan. Michael Wong of the Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYCSF) says the man was found on Wednesday morning back to work collecting cans on the streets of Bayview-Hunters Point. (Several news outlets initially identified the source as “Tommy Wong”, but Sarah Ching-Ting Wan, the Executive Director at CYCSF, clarified the name with NextShark). CYCSF did not respond to NextShark’s request for further details.
Employees at this recycling center in #SanFrancisco say they haven’t seen the elderly #Asian man, who usually comes once a week, since he was attacked in the #Bayview #neighborhood. #SF #racerelations #community https://t.co/nBpFgPTqen pic.twitter.com/VKWsy9XsdF
— Anser Hassan (@AnserHassan) February 26, 2020
4. He is refusing help because he is proud.
Wong revealed that the man has so far refused help and does not want to take donations because he is proud. He has also refused to fill out any paperwork for state and federal aid and benefits, which he may be eligible for, though he has accepted Wong’s help in reporting the crime to police. Rapper China Mac has since started a GoFundMe to help support the man.
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Please LISTEN to what this man who found the victim has to say – most of the people in that neighborhood treat him VERY KINDLY & GIVE HIM CANS. The group who attacked him DO NOT represent everyone in that neighborhood! While @SFPDofficial knows his identity, he doesn’t want to be identified publicly! Reporter @JoeNewsMan will have the interview with Michael Wong, the man who found him tonight…on @KPIX at 11pm. Wong is with the Community Youth Center of San Francisco and they representing him/helping him with the process of reporting the crime, etc. Here’s what we DO know and can share about the victim: -in his 70s, originally from the Guangdong province of China -has lived in SF for 6 years -supports himself by collecting cans -his wife works in home health care -in reference to the assault caught on video, he says it happened last week & that he was hit in the head with a stick, robbed of his cans -the victim wanted to make it CLEAR that there are SEVERAL people in the neighborhood who treat him well and give him their cans! -he was found Wednesday morning out on the streets of Bayview-Hunters Point collecting cans So far, Wong says, the man has refused any help. He is proud and doesn’t want donations. He also refuses to fill out paperwork for any government benefits. Again, you can watch the full report on @kpix tonight and follow the story online CBSSF.
5. More details revealed on the security company in a second video.
On Tuesday, a second video of the man emerged on social media showing a pile of cans believed to belong to him being taken by an individual while two armed and uniformed security guards talk to him. It was initially believed that the uniformed men were officers of the SFPD, which later denied the claim, clarifying that they were guards for a private security company called Critical Intervention Patrol.
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⚠️PLEASE NOTE⚠️- The text displayed in the video is inaccurate and posted before the men in uniform were confirmed. The men in uniform are employees of a full service armed security company called ‘Critical Intervention Patrol’. They provide private security services for the bayview/hunters point area of SF. @criticalinterventionpatrol @criticalintvnpatrol1 . . People were confusing the men in uniform as SFPD but they’re security for the area and was around when the incident occurred… We aren’t sure why they let the man or group of black males that harassed, humiliated and attacked the helpless Asian man with a weapon walk away with his cans though. . . They should have called the cops to step in. Lots of questions are being raised at the moment. 🤔 . This elderly Asian man is out here trying to do what he can to survive and they just kicked him away like that. Stand by to hear more on this story… . . It’s just still shocking that these black males are going around screaming they hate Asians on social media. We are out here trying to push diversity forward and they’re just bringing us 10 steps back. 🤦🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️ Right now, we all just want to help the man that suffered from this incident. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 . . . #bayarea #sanfrancisco #bayareafoodz @bayareafoodz #asiansneverdie
The CEO for the Napa-based company, Daniel Francom, released a statement that the company is also looking into the incident:
“Our investigations unit is currently investigating this matter. While this investigation is underway, it would be premature and unfair to make any statements at this time. We assure you and the community that once our investigation is completed, we will give further details with transparency regarding this incident.”
NextShark has reached out to CIP for further comment.
The Community’s Response
Many in the San Francisco and Asian American community were left shocked, angered, and heartbroken by the video.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a Community Unity and Healing rally to take place on Thursday at 2 p.m. on Osceola Lane, the same street where the attack happened.
“I want to be clear: We don’t want to try and bait any kind of race war. We live in the same community, we go to the same grocery stores, our kids go to the same schools. And it’s important that we bridge that gap.”
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) February 26, 2020
Asian American community activists Dr. Connie Wun, executive director of AAPI Women Lead, and Eddy Zheng, founder and president of New Breath Foundation, issued a joint statement to ABC 7 News on the incident:
“While social media outlets may want to make this a hate crime, Asian community leaders and members who have been historically working on Black and Asian relations oppose the impulse to criminalize communities. Instead, we understand the event as one that is rooted in issues related to poverty, limited resources, cultural conflicts, and systemic rage.”
Zheng added that the two security guards in the second video should be held responsible for “not only failing to help the Chinese man, but for harassing, neglecting, and enabling in some of the humiliation and violence that happened that day.”
Lai Wa Wu from the Chinese Progressive Association told KPIX 5:
“I think all of us, myself included, were really heartbroken first — and feeling really hurt and saddened that somebody who was really struggling to make ends meet and trying to do what he can to move his life forward was hurt in such a way.”
Kevin Boggess from Coleman Advocacy told KPIX 5:
“I think there’s a lot of economic insecurity in San Francisco. And when people are feeling it — and when that happens, people do really ridiculous things – things that no one finds acceptable and no one wants to happen in their community or neighborhood.”
SFPD officer and spokesman Adam Lobsinger revealed that the department learned of the video on Monday and that it was too early to classify the assault as a hate crime, according to NBC Bay Area.