On May 1, 15-year-old Leting Cai was harassed and attacked by a group of slur shouting teens in Queens in yet another incident contributing to the skyrocketing number of attacks against Asian-Americans this year, ABC 7 reports.
Cai was at a playground in Rego Park, Queens with two of his friends that day, when two teens came up and started harassing them.
Andy Ngo reported that the perpetrators are of Middle Eastern background.
Cai said they started hurling slurs at himself and his friends, adding that "one of them said 'Ch*** ch****."
"Say that again," he said back to them. Cai reportedly had planned to keep silent about the slurs, but remembered what his mother had told him.
"My mother really made me realize this is not only about me. This is about the community," Cai said, "If nobody speaks up, if everybody does the same as I do usually, no change will happen."
Cai noted afterwards that the two teens were on the phone, and shortly after three more joined the group.
He reportedly stood his ground again, but as he turned his back to walk away, the five teens jumped him, punching him numerous times in the head.
"I feel like they really wanted me dead, I was pretty scared, I would say," said Cai.
Cai suffered from a bruised head and swollen eye, and said that he had a headache for weeks.
Three of the five teens, two 14-year-old boys and an 18-year-old girl, were arrested by police on charges of misdemeanor assault and harassment.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the matter.
Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, who was angered after hearing about the attack, introduced legislation this month that would require counseling for hate crime offenders.
"What happened to the 15-year-old in Queens is totally unacceptable," Seawright said.