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Hate crime charges filed against suspect in stabbing of Asian American man in NYC

Hate crime charges have been filed against the suspect accused of stabbing a 36-year-old Asian American man in New York City's Chinatown on Thursday, the New York Police Department confirmed to CBS News. That comes as activists are calling for more hate crime charges to be filed in the spate of recent violence against Asian Americans. 

The stabbing occurred at approximately 6:20 p.m. Thursday evening, when the victim was approached from behind by the suspect in lower Manhattan, the NYPD said. The suspect allegedly stabbed the victim in the torso with "an unknown sharp object" before fleeing on foot. The incident was captured on video.  

The victim is currently in critical condition, the NYPD said. 

Salman Muflihi, 23, was arrested and charged with two hate crimes: attempted criminally negligent homicide and assault. He was also charged with forgery and criminal possession of a weapon. 

The stabbing comes amid a stark rise in attacks against Asian Americans, both in New York and across the country, fueled in part by misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. According to advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate, more than 3,000 hate incidents have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic. 

As CBS News previously reported, some of the incidents have led to serious injuries and even death. In New York, a man poured acid on an Asian American woman. In San Francisco, an 84-year-old Thai man died after he was violently thrown to the ground. 

In the wake of the attacks, activists have called on the federal government to step in. In January, President Biden signed an executive order condemning racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans. When asked how else Mr. Biden would support Asian Americans, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said he would support "additional action on the local level or federal level." 

The attacks have also gained attention from celebrities including Daniel Wu and Daniel Dae Kim, who offered a $25,000 reward for information on a string of attacks on Asian Americans in Oakland, California. 

"Those of us who have been following these issues since COVID started have seen these kinds of incidents in our news feeds pop up almost daily, and yet we see very little being done about it," Dae Kim told CBS News. 

Weijia Jiang and Jamie Yuccas contributed reporting. 

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