A Flushing man charged with hate crimes involving robbery and assault in two attacks on Chinese women said he committed the crimes because of bad experiences with Chinese people, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Key Lee, 34, was charged in connection with two separate attacks in which Chinese women were viciously beaten after allegedly being targeted by Lee, who stated, “I don’t like Chinese people,” Brown said.
“He allegedly sought out these two women because of their race,” Brown said. “This kind of bigotry and racism is not acceptable in a civilized society.”
On Jan. 27, Ling Chou was cleaning snow from her car when she noticed Lee standing on a nearby corner smoking a cigarette, according to Brown.
When she opened her car’s back door, Lee is alleged to have rushed her and pushed her into the back seat, covering her body with his own, Brown said.
He then allegedly closed the door and began to punch Chou repeatedly in the face. According to the DA, he then grabbed her purse, leaving the car with her credit card, identification and $2,000 in cash that had been inside her handbag.
In the second incident Wednesday, Lee allegedly attacked Ziao Feng as she walked toward her apartment building, Brown continued.
Lee allegedly punched Zeng in the face several times before taking her handbag and running off with her credit cards, identification and $2,000 in cash, Brown added.
The DA said Lee allegedly told the authorities when he attacked Chou, he was angry following an argument with his wife and that he used to work as a cab driver and had many Chinese customers who were rude and smoked in the car, Brown said.
He allegedly became even more angry when he and Chou made eye contact. He said, “I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided she’s the one. I started beating her,” the DA continued.
To explain the attack on Feng, he said he had been driving home when she cut him off in traffic and failed to signal, Brown added.
He then followed her and when she parked her car, he continued to follow her on foot and then allegedly attacked her, the DA said.
He allegedly stated, “I don’t like the Chinese and I went to Flushing to look for Chinese people,” according to Brown.
Lee was arraigned Thursday afternoon before Queens Criminal Court Judge Peter Vallone on two separate complaints, Brown said.
Bail was set at $500,000 for each complaint and Lee’s next court date is Feb. 25, he said. If convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour