The assault unfolded near the corner of East 35th Street and Fifth Avenue as the 53-year-old diplomat was walking with a friend at 8:10 p.m., according to the New York City Police Department.
The attacker didn’t say anything while punching the Korean official, who suffered a broken nose, police said. The victim even showed his South Korean diplomatic ID to the attacker, who fled toward Sixth Avenue.
The assault happened on the edge of Manhattan’s Koreatown and about a mile southwest of U.N. headquarters.
There was no arrest as of Thursday morning, and a motive wasn’t immediately clear, a police spokesman said.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have been soaring, in the months since the coronavirus pandemic struck, according to a study published in January by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Police didn’t immediately assign a motive for the beating.
In a statement City Councilman Keith Powers, who represents the Manhattan neighborhood where the assault happened, said: “The unprovoked attack against the South Korean diplomat is horrific and absolutely unacceptable.”
“Over the past year, we’ve seen a rise in hate crimes against the AAPI community that is abhorrent and cannot continue. It is our duty to condemn these terrible incidents and take against against this continued harassment, violence, and discrimination,” he said.
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