Asian-on-Asian hate crime? In L.A., yes. And over a man's heritage as he tried to get takeout food of a different culture, no less.
The victim was beaten, had his car pummeled, and was robbed because, authorities say, he is Chinese American. And the suspects weren't white, black, or Latino. They were Korean-American.
The incident went down in the after-hours of Feb. 6 at a Korean restaurant in Rowland Heights. According to an L.A. County Sheriff's statement issued late Wednesday:
The 25-year-old went to the spot in the 18300 block of East Colima Road at 3:20 a.m. for takeout.
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As he waited for the order, one of seven Korean American men who were eating at the restaurant asked if he was Korean; the victim said no, Chinese.
The main suspect followed the victim outside, and five of his pals followed: Deputies say they beat him up, took his wallet, vandalized his car, pulled its side-view mirrors off, and took a GPS navigation device out of it.
Witnesses intervened. Maybe they saved the dude's life. The victim was left with a gash in his head that required staples.
Deputies caught up with two suspects: One they got through a license plate number taken down by a wit. He was named as 18-year-old Jachin Yi of Diamond Bar.
The other was tracked down through an ATM card left at the scene. He was named as 19-year-old Peter Kim, also of Diamond Bar.
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Those two have been hit with charges of hate crimes, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon, sheriff's officials said late Wednesday. They are free on bail.
Authorities nabbed a couple other suspects after reviewing security video and realizing that known members of a San Gabriel Valley Korean American gang, Asian Mafia Assassins, were allegedly involved. In fact they say they recognized a few faces from previous run-ins with the law.
On Tuesday they ran down the suspects via search warrant. Arrested on suspicion of hate crimes, robbery and ADW were Hwan Joon Huh, 29, of Diamond Bar, and Jae Du, 25, of West Covina.
They were each being held in lieu of $100,000.