Man attacked in apparent hate crime in Hoboken

July 27, 2010 2:54:47 AM PDT
Poilice in Hoboken are investigating a weekend attack as a hate crime.

A friend of the victim helped lead police to the suspect.

Keit Ngo is a man from Florida, in our area for business. But he says the attack has changed his focus entirely. He wants the person who assaulted him behind bars for a long time.

"I think this is where I got punched," Ngo said, pointing to his cheek during an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News.

Ngo is recovering from his injuries.

"I got 10 staples to the back of my head," he said.

The injuries are the result of a brutal, unprovoked attack on the streets of Hoboken.

Witnesses say the suspect yelled racial slurs before knocking Ngo out cold.

"I saw him get hit right in the side of the head and fall to the ground hard," one witness said.

The incident was witnessed by dozens of people, including many of the victim's friends, who say they tried to stop the attacker, who escaped in a car.

But someone remembered the license plate number, which wound up being a key piece of evidence.

One of Ngo's friends told police that he tried to rip the license plate off the car. And when police found the car, they also found a damaged license plate.

After that, it didn't take long for them to locate the suspect.

According to Hoboken police, he is 23-year-old Charles Lee, of Bayonne.

The police report says that he told investigators that he was "sorry for punching the victim...didn't mean for him to get hurt."

Ngo isn't buying that. He's still trying to understand why it happened.

"I didn't do nothing wrong," he said.

Lee is charged with aggravated assault and bias intimidation.