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An Asian man was beaten and told to “go back to your country” during an unprovoked attack in Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday morning.
The Associated Press reports that the incident happened shortly before 10 a.m. on the corner of West 43rd Street and 11th Avenue, where an unknown individual approached Youya Hua, 48, and began punching him repeatedly. The suspect told the man to “go back to your country,” and bit two of his fingers, severing the middle fingertip.
“He just bought a coffee, near Hell’s Kitchen,” Hua’s 13-year-old son William told the New York Daily News. “We don’t know much, just that he got attacked from behind and that person bit his finger. And his eye got injured—he was punched, I think.”
Hua, an Uber driver and father of two young sons, was taken to Mount Sinai West hospital, where he was treated for the severed fingertip, cuts to his forehead, and a swollen eye.
Meanwhile, the suspect fled the area after the attack. Police described him as a man in his 40s who was wearing blue jeans and no shirt. He was carrying a red sweatshirt.
Reports of Anti-Asian hate incidents surged from 3,795 to 6,603 in March of this year, according to new data from Stop AAPI Hate. This increase could be due to a number of factors, experts say, including both increased awarenes around the issue and the U.S. lifting COVID restrictions.