Attack on Asian man in Oakland shows AAPI hate is still problem, activist says

Oakland police are investigating a brutal attack of an Asian man near the Fox Theater last week. The community is rallying around him and asking people to come forward with any information.

Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan says he’s been in touch with the police about this attack and without video or witnesses, they’ve been unable to make an arrest. He thinks this is a case of Asian hate. 

"I think people are thinking ‘oh maybe things are getting better.’ But it’s not getting much better," Chan said.

Last week, 25-year-old Sagar Ocean Tamang was attacked on Telegraph Avenue near the Fox Theater, after grabbing food from a street vendor around 11 p.m. 

A message written on the GoFundMe page set up to help Tamang, says he was attacked from behind and left in an ally without much of his clothing. It says his phone, wallet, pants, boots and coat were taken, as he was left unconscious on the street.  

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"We are trying to see if some videos are available but also, we are encouraging people that if they have any information, please help us and work with the police," Chan said. 

Stop AAPI Hate is a non-profit coalition with a mission to track and respond to incidents of hate and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The group reports that since it began tracking in March of 2020, 38% of hate incidents have happened in California, the highest of any other state.  

"Unfortunately, what we are realizing, there are so many incidents that many victims, they are afraid or they don’t want to report it. So, what we are seeing is actually only a small fraction of the cases that have already happened," Chan said.    

Volunteers with groups like Asian Frontliners, have taken it upon themselves to look out for people who may be at risk of being attacked. Chan says the community will continue to support victims in any way they can. 

"I think we all feel strongly that we want to give him that support. So, I just want to tell him and his family that people do care and we all want to help as well," Chan said.

Chan says community leaders have been meeting with the FBI to talk about how they can better protect people from these attacks. They’re also planning town hall meetings in Oakland and San Francisco.