New documentary on Sihui Fang, Albuquerque spa owner who died fighting off robbers, in the works

salon owner documentary

A documentary filmmaker is taking on the story of Sihui Fang, a spa owner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who died earlier this year after fighting off armed robbers.

Fang, 45, was shot and killed on the night of Jan. 24 inside her spa, Wonderful Massage. According to local authorities, Fang was involved in a shoot-out with murder and robbery suspects Juan Carlos Hernandez, 18, and Jorge Rivera-Ramirez, 19.

Rivera-Ramirez was shot several times and ended up in the hospital while Hernandez managed to flee the scene, according to reports.

Director Charlie Minn, who has helmed films about unsolved crimes such as the arrest of drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera and violence in Juarez, Mexico, wants to highlight Fang’s bravery in the face of danger.

“The Sihui Fang story has stayed with me since it happened, you rarely ever hear of Asians fighting back like that. We’re known to be very placid and very calm and nonconfrontational,” Minn was quoted as saying. “Sihui Fang won my respect with her guts, she was shot 10 times and murdered, and she hit the criminal four times.”

Aware of the dangers of working alone, Fang reportedly kept a gun in a desk drawer in her office. 

Surveillance footage shows Rivera-Ramirez initially paying Fang for a massage before following her into another room.

Soon after, they both emerge from the room with Rivera-Ramirez pointing a gun at Fang and leading her to the front door to let another man into the establishment.

Fang attempts to escape, but the teenagers force her back inside and knock her down. Rivera-Ramirez then drags her by her hair to the office. The footage then abruptly cuts off since the spa’s cameras were reportedly disconnected.

Investigators posit that Fang was able to grab her gun and shoot at Rivera-Ramirez several times. Rivera-Ramirez shot Fang and hit her multiple times in return.

The teenagers, who prosecutors believe are also behind a string of robberies at other massage businesses, have been ordered to stay in jail until their trial.

Minn’s documentary aims to spark an honest conversation about the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes.

“Asians are being targeted, I am being targeted. It’s unbelievable the wave of crime going on not just in Albuquerque but all over the country, it’s shameless, it’s brutal, it needs awareness, it needs activism,” he explained. 

Fang’s partner, Rod Honstein, hopes the documentary and her courage will inspire viewers: “I thought it was important that the message that he is trying to put forth, how Asian hate has affected the Asian community in the United States and again an opportunity to tell the story of a remarkable woman who was brutally murdered but did fight back.”

Minn plans to release the documentary in February 2023.

 

Featured Image via KRQE

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