Vicious, deadly attacks on Asian Americans rise amid pandemic

75-year-old man from Oakland dies after most recent violent episode

Violent attacks on Asian Americans have surged amid the coronavirus pandemic, with several thousand racially motivated hostilities reported across the nation, and the problem appears to be worsening.

Several of the incidents, ranging from robbery, assault and verbal abuse, have ultimately turned deadly.

Authorities and advocates have attributed the attacks to widespread xenophobic rhetoric that continues to push the false theory that the country’s Asian population is directly responsible for spreading the virus.

The blame also extends to former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly used insults and derogatory terms to fault China for the unabated death toll in the United States.

Experts on race say Trump’s words only served to embolden and encourage discrimination and violence.

“The rhetoric spurred by the previous administration when the pandemic started — using ‘China virus,’ ‘kung flu’ and all that kind of stuff — has made Asian Americans a target to basically people who are racist,” said actor Daniel Wu, who spoke to The New York Times.

The growing problem has also ensnared some Asian American athletes, including NBA G League star and former Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin, who said an opponent called him “coronavirus” on the court during a game in February.

Lin revealed the incident on social media but refrained from outing the other player, who has since been identified by the league, according to reports.

The growing problem has also ensnared some Asian American athletes, including NBA G League star and former Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin, who said another player called him “coronavirus” on the court during a game in February.
The growing problem has also ensnared some Asian American athletes, including NBA G League star and former Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin, who said another player called him “coronavirus” on the court during a game in February.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

“I know this will disappoint some of you but I’m not naming or shaming anyone,” Lin said on Twitter. “What good does it do in this situation for someone to be torn down? It doesn’t make my community safer or solve any of our long-term problems with racism... Fighting ignorance with ignorance will get us nowhere. Sharing our own pain by painting another group of people with stereotypes is NOT the way...”

Asians were the fastest-growing ethnic group in the nation between 2000 and 2015, increasing their population by 72%, according to the Pew Research Center.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, more than 3,000 violent incidents have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for Asian American Pacific Islanders, reports say.

In one of the most recent episodes, 75-year-old Pak Ho of Oakland, California, died Thursday, two days after he was shoved to the ground and hit his head on the pavement during his morning walk.

Haijun Si stands in front of his home in Ladera Ranch, California, as neighbors form a nightly security detail to deter teens who have harassed his family by throwing rocks and yelling racial slurs.
Haijun Si stands in front of his home in Ladera Ranch, California, as neighbors form a nightly security detail to deter teens who have harassed his family by throwing rocks and yelling racial slurs.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The suspect in the case, 26-year-old Teaunte Bailey, is now facing murder and other criminal charges related to a Feb. 19 robbery and assault at a senior living facility, according to news reports citing the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Reports say Bailey was confined to home supervision when the attack on Ho occurred.

In a similar and highly publicized attack in January, Vicha Rantanapakdee, an 84-year-old San Francisco man from Thailand, was also killed after a 19-year-old man allegedly knocked him to the ground.

Later that month, a 91-year-old man survived after he was shoved down by a stranger in Oakland’s Chinatown.

On Feb. 3, Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino American, was slashed across the face on the New York City subway, according to CNN.

Later in the month, a 27-year-old Asian American Air Force veteran described a vicious attack in California that is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Authorities in several major cities have documented the sharp rise in hate crimes toward Asians between 2019 and 2020, according to reports citing data collected by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino. The same study showed hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 U.S. cities rose by 150% last year.

But many of these attacks are widely unreported or many also do not meet the legal definition of a hate crime, The Associated Press reported.

New York City went from three incidents to 27, Los Angeles from seven to 15, and Denver had three incidents in 2020 — the first reported there in six years, the AP reported.

In widely reported verbal attacks, Asian Americans are being told to “Go back where you came from” or “Go back to your own country,” according to the Times.

The rash of crimes targeting elderly Asian Americans during the past two months has led to a push to get lawmakers and the media to bring renewed focus to the problem.

This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will provide $1.4 million toward community resources and help track anti-Asian incidents.

Many municipalities have also begun initiatives including increased police and volunteer patrols and hotlines that people can call to report the crimes.

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