Photo of crime scene courtesy Jenny Low
By Shirley Ng, AsAmNews Staff Writer
The recent Chinatown stabbing victim is reported to be “doing better,” wrote Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo of the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Force, in a text message Tuesday morning to an AsAmNews staff reporter.
Earlier news reports said the 36-year-old victim was not expected to survive, so this is a bit of good news. He did, however, lose a kidney, adrenal gland and suffered damage to his liver. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital after the unprovoked attacked, but it is unclear if he is still in the hospital.
The victim, a Chinatown resident was stabbed the night of February 25 with an 8-inch kitchen knife at 6:20pm, according to the NYPD. The suspect, 23-year-old Salman Muflihi allegedly walked up from behind his victim at the intersection of Worth Street and Baxter Street and stabbed the man from behind before running off.
The stabbing occurred in front of the US District Courthouse and was captured on surveillance video. Chinatown’s busy Columbus Park is across the street and is typically full of seniors playing table games and youth shooting hoops during the day in good weather. A crime like this happening so close to a busy recreational area is undoubtedly making the community nervous.
Muflihi later turned himself in and is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first and second-degree assault, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He told NYPD he didn’t like how the victim looked at him. The stabbing was initially deemed a possible hate-crime, but that charge was later dropped. Muflihi’s bail is set at $500,000.
The League of Asian Americans of New York (LAANY) held a live Facebook forum the same evening at 6pm with NYC Council candidates Linda Lee, Alec Brook-Krasny and Gigi Li. During the forum, Li, the current District 1 City Council member chief of staff reported live on Facebook to the group and in front of viewers that she received a message from her cellphone that a stabbing had just occurred in Chinatown.
Loo said recently that the Asian Hate Crime Task Force is involved in every crime when an Asian is involved and that Asians are “appreciative of that.” He felt however, that “The department doesn’t express what we do correctly.”
Protestors outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on March 1 say Asian Americans are tired of having the value of their lives and voices ignored. Community leaders like Don Lee are calling on the city to fund the Asian Hate Crime Task Force to handle the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. The task force is currently comprised of over 25 volunteers. Funding the task force would give accountability for the work they do and credibility to the task force members, he feels.
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