Los Angeles, CA

Recent Anti-Asian Attacks in the U.S. February 2021

James Shih

There has been a terrible increase in crimes against Asians since the start of the pandemic back in March 2020. However, this racism and these attacks have been happening ever since Asians have been immigrating to the U.S. for almost 180 years. Prior to the pandemic, an elderly woman Yik Oi Huang died in San Francisco from injuries she received from a vicious attack a year prior.

Below is just a small number of the recent attacks that have been happening in the U.S. These attacks have happened in very ethnically diverse and supposedly “tolerant” cities in the U.S. It can be deduced that there are likely many more attacks that are unreported or are happening in areas where it's harder to receive national attention.

If you are sensitive to violence, please be aware that some of the reports below are violent and graphic in nature. To those that are Asian or live in or near Asian communities, please be vigilant and help protect those in need.

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Photo of an LA street by Alexis Balinoff.

Los Angeles, CA

In LA’s Koreatown, 27 year old Denny Kim was physically assaulted by two men that yelled insults at him such as “You have the Chinese Virus, go back to China,” before being punched to the ground and then kicked in the face. This happened on Kenmore street between 6th street and Wilshire around 8:40pm PST on February 16. Luckily, Kim’s friend Joseph Cha was being dropped off by an Uber and witnessed the attack. He ran over yelling at the men who fled. The two suspects are still at large and are described as two Hispanic males in their 30s, one being 5 ft 7 inches 170 pounds with a bald head and brown eyes, and the other 5 ft 6, 140 pounds. If you have any information, please report it to the LAPD.

In LA’s Little Tokyo, on Thurs February 26th, vandalism and arson occurred at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple. A 12 ft glass window was destroyed by a rock, two 6-foot wooden lantern stands were burned, and two 30 lb metal lanterns ripped from their base. Luckily no one was hurt. If you’ve ever visited Little Tokyo, this serene temple is a beautiful sight to behold and it’s an incredible shame that individuals would do this to such a space. When the vandalism occurred, Rev. Masa Fujii heard the commotion and was able to grab an extinguisher to put out the fires. This luckily prevented further damage and by this time the perpetrators had already fled. Within the last two weeks, there’s been a number of attacks by individuals against the temple, such as a couple assaulting one of the security guards. The temple’s head priest, Noriaki Ito (72 years old) says that these attacks are unprecedented in the 45 years he has been there. If you happen to have any information about these attacks, please contact the LAPD.

Video from Oakland Beauty Supply of the robbery described below. Via Youtube.

Oakland, CA: In Oakland Chinatown a woman was dragged 150 feet on the street after an attacker snatched a purse that was strapped to her neck and shoulder and jumped into a four-door white sedan. Oakland Beauty Supply camera caught the video. Luckily, as seen in the video, the woman is able to stand up after the attack. Her husband, who has chosen to remain anonymous, says that his wife is ok but is shaken up. The couple are originally from Vietnam and it is still unclear if they were targeted for their race. The video was shared by the owner of the local beauty supply on social media in hopes to raise awareness of recent attacks on Asian Americans. This follows a string of attacks in Oakland Chinatown in which three elderly people were pushed violently to the ground, one attack against a 91 year old man caught on video. If you have any information about this attack, please contact the Oakland Police Department.

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Photo of an Orange County beach by Joshua Sukoff.

Orange County, CA: According to a recent Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, crimes are up by an estimated 1,200% in Orange County. Security camera footage has shown teenagers targeting certain homes by throwing rocks and yelling racial slurs. Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do condemns the acts and shares that, “[...] racial threats and violence are treated no less seriously than any other kind of assault.” Haijun Si is one of the victims, his home being attacked with rocks and door pounding at least seven times. It was not until neighbors stepped in to watch his home in multiple shifts before the attacks stopped.

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A Manhattan street. Photo by Hardik Panya.

New York City, NY:

On February 27th, suspect Salman Muflihi (23 years old) was arraigned for the attempted murder of a 36 year-old Asian man. Muflihi is currently not being charged with a hate crime, though additional charges may be brought during the investigation. According to the police reports, on Thursday February 25th at 6:20 pm, the 36 year-old Asian man was walking on the sidewalk before he was approached from behind and stabbed in the torso by an attacker with a large kitchen knife. The Asian man is currently in critical condition. It is reported that the Asian man did not see who stabbed him and is unaware of why he was attacked. It’s alleged that Muflihi went into the Manhattan District Attorney’s office later that Thursday evening saying he “stabbed a guy up the block.”

February 2021 Rise Up Against Hate Rally. Photo by NYC Food Blog

Ways to Help

As shown by the solidarity of Haijun Si’s neighbors and the Oakland Chinatown business owner sharing the video, there are ways each person can help to prevent further crime against the Asian community. Recently California allocated $1.4 million to track anti-Asian bias and hate crimes through the Stop AAPI Hate tracking group. If you have experienced an attack, please report it to your local officials. Data about these reports are useful for securing funding and resources to help prevent anti-Asian crimes. You can also report the incident here on Stop AAPI Hate.

You can also help educate those in your community how to report a hate crime. Esther Lim in Los Angeles has made pamphlets in multiple languages to help those understand how to report a hate. You can support her GoFundMe here.

You can volunteer to join a local community patrol for your city’s Chinatown or other area that may be a target for such attacks. Have honest dialogue with those in your community about race and challenge those that push forward any disparaging rhetoric. Educate yourself and those around you about the Asian American experience through films like Minari, the PBS documentary special Asian Americans, and this article about the historical racism against Asians in the U.S. We have to face this issue together.

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I enjoy writing about film/TV, travel, slice of life, language, Asian American issues, and other interests. Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment or message if you have any thoughts to share =).

Los Angeles, CA
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