An Asian man was arrested last night by California police, after abducting a woman who he thought was white so he could rape her in revenge for supposed anti-Asian hate crimes.
Irvine Police arrested Michael Sangbong Rhee, a 37-year-old Asian male, on Friday night for kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual assault against an Asian woman. In a press release, Irvine PD said that Rhee forced the woman at gunpoint into the back of her car when she was outside her apartment complex on Thursday afternoon. After committing “sexual battery” on the woman, Rhee fled when she alerted a nearby maintenance worker. Rhee was later arrested and is currently being held on $1 million bail. A BB gun similar to the weapon described by the victim was found in his apartment.
Irvine, Calif. (April 9, 2021) – Last night, Irvine Police arrested 37-year-old Michael Sangbong Rhee for kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual assault against a woman at an apartment complex. pic.twitter.com/bYvPsLE5TK
— Irvine Police Department (@IrvinePolice) April 10, 2021
However, despite the victim also being Asian, after questioning Rhee, Irvine PD detectives believe that “he targeted the victim because he thought she was white.” The detectives also believe that the attempted rape was committed in “retaliation for hate crimes committed against the Asian community.” Hate crime charges are being added by the detectives to the complaint already in process with the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
In the last couple of months, protests against hate crimes against Asians have been growing across the country, along with their prevalence in the public consciousness. Media reports, and groups including “Stop Asian Hate” have spun a narrative that so-called “white supremacy” is to blame. This is despite the fact that almost all perpetrators of attacks against Asians are non-white. National File reported on a published list of mugshots of suspected victims in anti-Asian hate crimes, none of whom were white.
Booking pics of those arrested for anti-Asian attacks in NYC.
Damn white supremacists.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) March 26, 2021
Despite this, the narrative that white people are to blame continues. Activists claim that “white supremacy” in fact “pits [black and Asian] communities against each other.” A BBC report on anti-Asian hate crimes listed a number of hate crimes and attacks, but only mentioned the identity of the perpetrator in one – when a “Trump-supporting tech executive” hurled slurs at a family in a restaurant in Carmel, California.
Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, put the blame squarely on President Donald Trump for the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. “I think there’s no question that some of the damaging rhetoric that we saw during the prior administration, blaming, you know, calling COVID, you know, uh, the Wuhan Virus, or other things, led to perceptions of the Asian American community that are inaccurate, unfair, that have raised threatening, has elevated threats against Asian Americans,” Psaki said.