2 Asian men taking photos randomly attacked in Manhattan

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021
2 Asian men taking photos attacked in NYC
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Police say the suspect attacked the two men after a tour guide asked a question about the race of the victims.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two men were taking photos in front of Macy's in Manhattan when they were attacked in broad daylight.

The incident happened Saturday at around 2:30 p.m. in Herald Square.

Police say a 27-year-old Asian man accompanied by a male friend, both from Queens, were taking photos when a tour guide asked them where they were from.

"I say southeast Asian," one of the victims said in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News. "This gentleman listening. He listened what we are talking about. And then when he hear about Southeast Asia, Bangkok, Thailand and he's watching me like this, he's watching me like this, staring me."

They stated that they were from Myanmar and that's when an unknown white male, who was eavesdropping and overheard their conversation, came over and started yelling, "Why are you taking pictures of me?"

Police say the suspect then randomly began punching the two victims.

"I say Bangkok," the victim said. "Next to Thailand is my country, he starts punching me boom, boom, boom, boom, he punch me like face, like my arm, like my head and I tried to run away."

After the victim ran to get help, they say the assailant then turned his rage towards the friend who snapped the photo. He grabbed him by the collar.

"Give me your phone," the suspect said, according to the victim. "Give me your phone, so I said, 'Ok brother, take the phone, if you see any of your pics you can delete it.'"

The victims, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the tour guide intervened to break up the attack, while one of the victims ran to flag down an officer.

They say the suspect was with a woman who appeared to be his wife, with three young children -- one of them was a baby in a stroller.

The victims refused medical assistance at the time, but both checked themselves in later that night.

One of the victims says his head is still ringing, and also has a sore arm, back and side.

According to the victims, the suspect did not appear to be homeless.

To make matters worse, they fled Myanmar due to the persecution of Muslims. They placed their families in hiding, leaving them them behind and came to the U.S. so they could provide for them.

But now, they no longer feel safe in the states either.

"We got treated in my country the same manner, you know," one of the victims said. "In school, in a public place. That's why we came to America to secure our life."

One of the victims is currently unemployed because the store where he worked in Jackson Heights recently burned in a fire.

He's worried about how he'll provide for his family and about being evicted.

Police are currently investigating the incident.

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