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Elderly man returns to China after being attacked multiple times in San Francisco

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An elderly Chinese man fell victim to multiple attacks — including one that occurred at the beginning of COVID-19 — in San Francisco has decided to return to China after deeming the city as no longer safe.

Driving the news: Rongxin Liao, 87, was first beaten unconscious in the Tenderloin District about seven years ago, according to Sing Tao Daily. He was attacked again at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, when he was kicked on his seated walker while waiting for a bus near Eddy and Leavenworth Streets.

His most recent attack happened in front of a Walgreens pharmacy near Market Street on Oct. 1, 2023, when he was punched in the head while he was pushing his wheelchair. Reports at the time did not identify Liao as the victim.

About his attackers: Liao appeared in court multiple times for the widely reported 2020 incident and asked the judge to give his attacker, Eric Ramos-Hernandez, a harsher punishment. However, Ramos-Hernandez only spent seven months in jail before being transferred to a mental health clinic and released for at-home treatment.

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A man identified as Effrim Baker, 60, was arrested for the October attack. He also faces 14 felonies in connection with stabbings that reportedly occurred on the same day.

What he’s saying: Liao’s son, Jing Liao, confirmed to the San Francisco Standard that his father had already bought a one-way ticket to Guangzhou, with his flight scheduled on Sunday. Jing said they decided to fly their father back home because public safety in San Francisco "has become worse and worse.”

“I don’t want to be a drag to my son here. I don’t want him to worry about me all the time,” Liao told Sing Tao Daily, adding that he is also willing to give up his naturalized American citizenship and restore his Chinese citizenship upon his return.

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The big picture: While California and the U.S. at large saw an uptick in hate crimes, San Francisco reported a decrease from 114 in 2021 to 36 in 2022. Anti-Asian hate, specifically, had decreased from 60 to six during in the said period, according to Axios.

 

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