A 48-year-old Asian man was attacked without provocation in a teeth-and-fist attack in Hell's Kitchen Tuesday that the NYPD is now investigating as a hate crime, officials confirmed to News 4.
Police say a stranger walked up to the victim at the corner of West 43rd Street and 11th Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. and started to punch him wherever he could hit.
The suspect then yelled, "Go back to your country!" before biting two of the victim's fingers on the left hand, authorities said, severing one of them.
He then fled the scene. The suspect was last seen shirtless, wearing blue jeans and holding a red sweatshirt. He is believed to be in his 40s.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was directing the state police's Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation.
"In what hos now become an alarming, disgusting pattern, we have learned that yet another Asian American was attacked violently in Manhattan. This needs to end," Cuomo said in a statement. "I want the Asian American community to remember that we stand with them against hate. As New Yorkers, we are forever proud of our diversity and we reject any cowardly attempts to divide us."
Newly released police data shows a startling rise in crimes targeting Asians. Through May 2, hate crimes against Asians are up 400 percent in 2021 as compared to the same time period in 2020. Hate crimes in general are up 73 percent.
The victim was taken to a hospital for cuts to his forehead and a swollen eye, in addition to the severed fingertip. An investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is ongoing.