BY JAMES FARRELL
A 35-year-old Korean man has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery as a hate crime, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced.
The defendant, Key Lee, of Hawthorne Avenue, assaulted and robbed two Chinese women last year. Upon his arrest, Lee told officers, “I don’t like Chinese people.”
The first attack occurred on Jan. 27, 2016, when the victim, Ling Chou, was removing snow from her car. Lee, who had been standing on the street corner smoking a cigarette, suddenly charged the woman, shoving her into the car and covering her with his body. He closed the door behind him and punched Chou repeatedly in the face before stealing her purse—containing Chou’s credit card, ID and $2,000 in cash.
According to Brown’s office, Lee was later caught on surveillance camera and admitted he was the culprit, citing an argument with his wife that had made him angry. He reportedly said: “I wanted to fight someone because the Chinese people were rude and smoking in the car … I wanted to pick a fight and that is when I saw one female cleaning snow and we made eye contact.”
After they made eye contact, Lee became angrier and said, according to Brown, that he “couldn’t take it anymore. I decided she’s the one. I started beating her.”
The second incident occurred on Feb. 10, 2016. Lee attacked the victim, Ziao Feng, as she was walking to her home, punching her repeatedly and running away with a handbag containing credit cards, ID and $2,000 cash.
At the time of his arrest, Lee said his anger was sparked after the woman cut him off without signaling in traffic. Lee reportedly said: “I don’t like the Chinese and I went to Flushing to look for Chinese people.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18. Lee faces five years in prison to be followed by five years’ post release supervision.
“In pleading guilty, the defendant has now admitted to attacking the two Asian women because of his hatred for Chinese people,” Brown said. “This kind of bigotry and hate are not acceptable in a civilized society and will not be tolerated in Queens County. The defendant’s guilty plea is another example of our refusal to accept this type of behavior.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.