Photo Courtesy of Google
One of the two bizarre attacks took place at 35th Avenue and Leavitt Street.
By Forum Staff
A 35-year-old Korean National has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery as a hate crime in connection with the vicious attacks on two Chinese women who were robbed and assaulted last year. The defendant at the time of his arrest told police, “I don’t like Chinese people.”
“In pleading guilty, the defendant has now admitted to attacking the two Asian women because of his hatred for Chinese people”, said DA Brown. “The defendant, who is Korean, spotted each woman when she was alone in public and pounced upon them – punching them in the face and then stealing their cash and credit cards. This kind of bigotry and hate are not acceptable in a civilized society and will not be tolerated in Queens County. The defendant’s guilty plea is another example of our refusal to accept this type of behavior.”
Key S. Lee, 35, of Hawthorne Avenue in the Flushing section of Queens plead guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery as a hate crime before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron. He will be sentenced on December 18, 2017, at which time Lee faces five years in prison to be followed by five years’ post release supervision.
The charges in the case say that on January 27, 2016, one victim, Ling Chou, was cleaning snow from her vehicle following a snowstorm when she noticed the defendant standing on a nearby corner smoking a cigarette. She ignored the man and continued to chip away at the layers of snow on her car. But when she opened the back door, the defendant suddenly rushed her and pushed her into the back seat. He covered her body with his and then closed the door behind him.
Lee repeatedly punched the woman in the face and grabbed her purse – stealing a credit card, her identification and approximately $2,000 in cash – as he fled the scene. According to that complaint, the defendant was shown surveillance video of the incident and admitted at that time that he was the attacker and that he did indeed rob Ms. Chou. He also stated that he was angry following an argument with his wife and that he used to work as a cab driver and the majority of his customers were Chinese. Lee stated in sum and substance, “I wanted to fight someone because the Chinese people were rude and smoking in the car…I wanted to pick a fight and that is when I saw one female cleaning snow and we made eye contact.”
Lee also stated he became even more angry when he and Ms. Chou made eye contact and he said he “couldn’t take it any more. I decided she’s the one. I started beating her.”
In the second attack on February 10, 2016, Lee spotted the victim, Ziao Feng, as she walked toward her apartment building and pounced on her. The defendant reigned punches on the woman’s face and then ran off with her handbag, which contained her credit cards, identification and about $2,000 in cash.
At the time of his arrest, Lee stated that he had been driving home when the victim cut him off in traffic and failed to signal, so he followed her and when she parked her car he continued to follow her on foot and then attacked her. He stated at that time, “I don’t like the Chinese and I went to Flushing to look for Chinese people.”