Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a verified GoFundMe to help support Yao Pan Ma and his family.
A 61-year-old Asian man is fighting for his life after falling victim to another brutal and unprovoked attack in New York City last week.
The incident, which was caught on surveillance video, occurred along Third Avenue and East 125th Street around 8:20 p.m. on Friday.
Yao Pan Ma was collecting cans in the area when a male assailant emerged out of nowhere, struck him from behind and knocked him on the ground.
The suspect then kicked Ma multiple times in the head.
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) April 24, 2021
A witness came forward to describe the attack.
“He was minding his business with his shopping cart,” Armetha Knight, 37, told the New York Daily News. “When he got to the scaffolding, an African American man attacked him from behind.
“He hit him from behind and then curb-stomped him.”
A bus driver saw Ma unconscious and called the NYPD. The department’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating.
61-year-old Yao Pan Ma fighting for his life. Ma’s niece says he immigrated to New York 2 years ago, moved to Harlem after their Chinatown apartment burned down, recently lost his job to COVID. Collecting cans was how he helped support his family. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/s83uNRlkhD pic.twitter.com/tCyMdMtPXp
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) April 25, 2021
Police described the suspect as an adult male with a dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, black pants, white sneakers and a multi-colored baseball cap.
Ma immigrated to New York two years ago and moved to Harlem after their Chinatown apartment burned down, his niece told ABC7 News. He then lost his restaurant job to COVID-19 and was just trying to make ends meet.
“My husband is a hard-working man,” Baozhen Chen, 57, told the New York Post in Mandarin. “He picks up bottles to help pay the rent and the bills. He is innocent. He did not do anything wrong. He is a very kind person. He is quiet. He doesn’t cause trouble to make people mad.”
Chen demands justice for her husband, who remains in a medically-induced coma. “Please capture him as soon as possible and make him pay,” she said.
This is outrageous.
Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 24, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to deliver justice in a tweet on Friday.
“This is outrageous. Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned the attack.
“This is not who we are as New Yorkers, and we will not let these cowardly acts of hate against members of our New York family intimidate us,” he said in a statement. “We stand united with the Asian American community which has always been an important part of our diverse identity as a state.”
Fashion designer Phillip Lim has created a GoFundMe to help Yao Pan Ma and his family.
“We are actively working with GoFundMe to direct the funds from previous fundraisers for the family to them,” the campaign reads. “Moving forward, all donations can be made through this fundraiser, as is the family’s request.”
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be submitted on Twitter via @NYPDTips.
Feature Images via New York Police Department