Asian woman speaks out after she and her son physically, verbally attacked in Queens

An Asian woman is speaking out following the arrests of two suspects, charged with hate crimes, after she and her son were verbally and physically attacked by three people in Queens.

There was a flood of tears and relief when reporters told a victim that two of her attackers are now under arrest for assault as a hate crime.

Last Thursday began with dim sum with relatives. After lunch, Cecille Lai and her son Kyle got a lift to the 7 train at Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona.

As they got out of the car, they told Lucy Yang that the driver behind them honked aggressively even though the light was red. After that came the anti-Asian slurs directed at the Filipino mother and son.

“They were saying, ‘ugly Asians,’ then next words were ‘(expletive) ugly Asians,'” Cecille Lai said. “Try to scream at us and taunt at us. Kept saying ugly Asians.”

Unfortunately, it did not end with words. Lai says the female passenger then threw water all over her. Lai responded by throwing dumplings, leftover from lunch, back at the woman.

“She jumped out of the car and I saw the driver come out of the car,” Lai said. “But the last thing I remember is her punching me. After that, I don’t remember.”

Lai told Lucy Yang she was knocked unconscious for most of the beating, but a good Samaritan who tried to help told her two men and one woman were all ganging up on her, and kicked and punched her and her 23-year-old son. The good Samaritan was also hurt.

In the end, the 44-year-old mother suffered a concussion, scratches on her eye, and bruising on her body. Her son suffered a skull fracture. He will need an MRI to make sure there was no bleeding in his brain.

“They also tried to hit me with their car as they were leaving,” Lai said. “They almost hit another pedestrian in the crosswalk.”

It did not take police long to track down the white car and arrest 18-year-old Natalie Plaza and her 21-year-old boyfriend Elijah Fernandez and charge them with hate crimes.

The search continues for the third person seen in surveillance video.

“I can’t even sleep,” Lai said. “When it turns quiet, it’s traumatizing.”

Lai, who works as a chef, is now scared to go out in her own city.

She is planning a rally later this week to speak out against street violence and hate crimes.

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