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Police say kidnapping in retaliation for anti-Asian hate crimes

A bizarre story of revenge is coming out of Irvine in Southern California.

Police there arrested Michael Sangbong Rhee, 37, for kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

According to a statement released on Twitter, Irvine Police say Rhee committed the crime to avenge anti-Asian hate crimes.

Police say he thought his victim was White. She is actually Asian.

Rhee is accused of approaching the woman in a car and threatening to kill her. Authorities say she ordered the victim to get into the back seat and committed sexual battery against her. She managed to scream to a nearby maintenance worker that the suspect had a gun. He then exited the victim’s car and drove off.

Surveillance cameras captured the suspect’s license plate as he exited the complex. Police later arrested Rhee at his home in Lake Forest where they found evidence linking him to the assault including a BB gun similar to the weapon described by the victim.

Investigators say statements Rhee made lead them to believe he targeted the victim because she is White. They also say the crime was in retaliation for hate crimes made against the Asian community.

Authorities say they will add hate crime charges against Rhee. He is being held on $1,000,000 bail.

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