Asian man fights for his life days after East Harlem attack; niece says he’s still not awake

Manhattan

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — A 61-year-old Asian man was in a coma on Monday, days after an attacker beat him in East Harlem.

Yao Pan Ma was collecting cans on Friday night when he was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and kicked in the head. A bus driver called 911.

His niece on Monday said she didn’t think he was doing well.

“I’m worried,” she said. “He’s not awake yet.”

Joann Tucker, one of Ma’s neighbors, said she was shocked to hear about the attack.

“I didn’t think anybody would bother them,” she said about the victim and his wife. “They’re so quiet; they don’t bother nobody.”

The victim came to New York about two years ago, his family said. He moved to East Harlem after his home in Chinatown burned down.

Surveillance video released by the police appears to show the attacker stomping on the victim’s head. The police department’s hate crimes task force is investigating the attack, the latest in a troubling rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York and around the country.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the assault “outrageous” on Twitter.

“Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” de Blasio said Saturday.

The attack recalled last month’s assault near Times Square in which a woman who immigrated from the Philippines was knocked to the ground and stomped on by an attacker who shouted anti-Asian slurs. A parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago was arrested in that attack.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation last week aimed at fighting the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The measure would expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and provide support for local law enforcement in response to thousands of reported violent incidents in the past year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday he would direct the state hate crimes task force to offer assistance in investigating Friday’s attack in East Harlem.

“I’m sickened to learn of yet another bigoted act of violence against an Asian American man,” the governor said in a statement. “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.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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