A 34-year-old Korean man has been charged for hate crime attacks against two Chinese women in Queens, prosecutors said.
Key S. Lee, of Flushing, Queens, is charged with both robbery and assault as a hate crime as well as several other charges for two separate attacks against the women, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown. He allegedly targeted the victims and stated "I don't like Chinese people."
“The defendant, who is Korean, is accused of acting on his hatred for Chinese people. He allegedly sought out these two women because of their race," Brown said. "This kind of bigotry and racism is not acceptable in a civilized society. The defendant now faces serious jail time.”
According to criminal charges for the first attack, on Jan. 27, Brown said that the victim was cleaning snow from her car when she noticed Lee standing nearby. When she opened the back door of her car, he allegedly rushed and pushed her into the backseat. He then closed the car door and punched her repeatedly in the face. He grabbed her purse and left with her credit card, I.D. and $2,000 in cash inside her bag.
Lee was shown surveillance video of the attack and allegedly admitted that it was him in the video. He stated that he used to work as a cab driver and the majority of his customers were Chinese.
“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.”
According to the complaint, Lee allegedly stated that he was angry after a fight with his wife and became more angry when he and the victim made eye contact.
"I couldn’t take it any more. I decided she’s the one. I started beating her.”
In the Feb. 10 incident, Lee said he had been driving home when the victim cut him off in traffic without signaling. He allegedly followed her until she parked her car and then he continued on foot before attacking her.
He allegedly said, “I don’t like the Chinese and I went to Flushing to look for Chinese people.”
Lee's bail was set at $500,000 for each separate complaint and his next court date is Feb. 25. If convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison.