67-year-old Taiwanese man attacked in L.A. in suspected hate crime

05/16/2021 07:51 PM
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Dashcam image courtesy of Paul Liao
Dashcam image courtesy of Paul Liao's family

Los Angeles, May 15 (CNA) A 67-year-old Lyft driver from Taiwan was attacked and robbed recently at a gas station near Los Angeles in a suspected hate crime, as the attacker kept yelling "go back to China."

The victim was identified as Paul Liao and the incident happened in the evening of May 10 in El Monte, a city with many Asian residents.

The incident was captured on dashcam.

The 2-minute video, provided by Liao's relatives to CNA, shows that the robber entered Liao's car, took his cellphone and about US$1,500 in cash, before attempting to drive the car away.

The robber pistol-whipped Liao, leaving him with a bleeding nose before running away after Liao told him the car is equipped with a keyless system that only recognizes the owner.

According to reports in local newspapers, police investigators believe that the attack was probably a crime of opportunity. However, Christine Ting, Liao's daughter-in-law, thought otherwise.

"He (Liao) does believe it's related to hate crime to some extent because he said the man kept telling him to go back to China," said Ting in a text message to CNA.

Ting on Friday organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe, an American for-profit crowdfunding platform, and had received US$28,004 as of press time against an original goal of US$3,000.

She said in a fundraiser update that her father-in-law probably would have been killed if he had not kept telling the robber that he came from Taiwan and not China.

According to Ting, she decided to initiate the fundraiser because her father-in-law, who has no health insurance, was afraid to go to the doctor, not knowing how much it would cost.

"We are all very touched and surprised by everyone's generosity! He is certainly thankful and shocked by the exposure we have gotten," Ting said.

Liao will use the donation to pay for his medical and living expenses in the meantime, as well as to recover the money he lost, which he was paid for providing designated driving services, she said.

Any additional money will be donated to the charity of his choice, she added.

A police manhunt for the suspect is ongoing, local news reports in Los Angeles said.

(By Lin Hung-han and Emerson Lim)

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