The stabbing of an Asian man in New York City’s Chinatown on Thursday evening is being investigated as a possible hate crime, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 6:20 p.m. as the 36-year-old Asian man walked on the sidewalk at the intersection of Worth and Baxter streets, the New York City Police Department said. Someone approached the man from behind and stabbed him in the torso with an unknown object before running away from the scene, according to the department.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, and later a 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with the stabbing, a police spokesman said. The suspect, Salman Muflihi of Brooklyn, faces charges of attempted criminally negligent homicide, assault, forgery and criminal possession of a weapon, according to officials.
A tweet from the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Manhattan South said “this felony Assault case is currently being investigated as a possible Hate Crime by NYPD Detectives.”
It’s not clear what caused police to investigate the attack as a possible hate crime.
But it came two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio and the commander of the police department’s Asian Hate Crime Task Force spoke about crimes targeting Asians in the city and elsewhere.
Since the pandemic, there have been 28 incidents of Covid-related hate crimes against Asians, and all but one involved Asian victims, said NYPD Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, who heads the Asian Hate Crime Task Force.
There have been two this year, he said. The year before the pandemic, there were three anti-Asian hate crimes.
Generally, for a violent act to be considered a Covid-related hate crime, there has to be something said or a statement by the assailant, Loo said.
Loo and de Blasio said hate crimes are often underreported, and they encouraged victims to report them. The NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force was formed last year.