Woman in Uber driver attack to be returned to San Francisco

KEN RITTER
·2-min read

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A woman arrested in Las Vegas several days after an attack on an Uber driver in San Francisco that was widely viewed on social media agreed Monday to be transferred in custody to California to face criminal charges.

Malaysia King’s court appearance in Las Vegas came hours after police in San Francisco announced that Arna Kimiai, 24, a woman seen with King in the Uber driver confrontation, turned herself in to face robbery, assault and battery, conspiracy and other charges.

Kimiai’s attorney, Seth Morris, said Kimiai posted a $75,000 bond to go free pending a future court appearance during which charges could be filed.

Video provided by the driver showed a maskless woman, later identified as Kimiai, coughing on him and grabbing his cellphone. Police also said that as three women exited the vehicle, one sprayed what was believed to be pepper spray toward the driver.

In Las Vegas, King, 24, did not have a lawyer during her brief court appearance by closed-circuit video. She agreed not to contest extradition. She was not asked about the charges against her.

King was arrested Thursday on a warrant from California accusing her of assault with a caustic chemical, conspiracy, assault and battery and a health and safety code violation.

Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman said authorities from California have 30 days to take King into custody, and told her she may also face felony charges in Las Vegas stemming from allegations that she and a man tried to use another person’s identification to obtain funds from that person’s bank account.

Court records show King was arraigned on burglary and conspiracy charges in that case and has a court date in May.

The Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, 32, was attacked after stopping his car when he realized one of three female passengers wasn’t wearing a mask, police said.

“An altercation ensued, largely captured on video,” San Francisco police said in a statement about Kimiai's arrest.

At one point, the video shows Kimiai coughing on Khadkas, grabbing his cellphone from the center dash area and ripping off Khadkas’ face mask.

Khadkas regained possession of his phone but was sprayed with what was believed to be pepper spray as the women got out of his car, police said.

Khadka later said he believed he was attacked because he is a South Asian immigrant. However, authorities have not commented on the allegation, and no hate crimes charges have been filed. Khadka came to the U.S. eight years ago and works to support his family in Nepal.

Uber said in a statement that it had banned all three riders.

A GoFundMe account to assist Khadka raised more than $97,000 by Monday. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that he planned to spend the money pursuing legal action and to support his family.