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Calls For Immediate Change Ring Out After 36-Year-Old Asian Man Stabbed In The Back In Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A random attack from behind has left another member of the Asian community seriously hurt.

Police sources told CBS2's Cory James that right after the suspect stabbed the man in the back on Thursday night, he told a stranger what he did.

Now, there are more calls for change and questions about what is classified as a hate crime when it comes to violence against Asian-Americans.

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Sources told James that police at the 5th Precinct have a possible suspect in custody who they are questioning about a potential hate crime. They said that man, a 23-year-old, walked into the district attorney's office on Hogan Place after the incident and told a security guard he had just stabbed someone.

Early Friday morning, 23-year-old Salman Muflihi was charged with attempted criminal negligence homicide, assault, forgery and possession of a weapon in the attack.

The incident was captured on video. The footage moves quickly, as did the unprovoked attack. A man is seen walking near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan when he is stabbed in the back.

Within seconds the suspect takes off, leaving the victim leaning over holding his back and eventually catching the attention of people nearby, CBS2's Cory James reported.

Jenny Low, Democratic district leader in Chinatown, later spoke out.

"This is very upsetting. We have been seeing so many more attacks on Asians. This is a hate crime. I don't care how you say it," Low said.

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The NYPD said so far this year there have been two hate crime incidents, but it is only classified as such when words are exchanged. Last year, there were 29 incidents, including 24 that were believed to have been motivated by COVID-19. In 2019, there were only three anti-Asian hate crimes.

"Enough is enough. We are in the middle of a pandemic," Low said.

A pandemic that has seen Asian crimes skyrocket across the country. Right now, more than 3,000 hate incidents directed at Asian-Americans have been recorded since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to one advocacy group.

Some of the recent disturbing incidents in New York City include a Flushing, Queens woman who was violently pushed to the ground, a SoHo woman who was peppered sprayed on the street, and now Thursday's stabbing, which sent another Asian New Yorker to the hospital.

Community members are calling for immediate change.

"We need the mayor and the police department to put some resources in the Anti-Hate Crime Task Force. I understand that they are sort of volunteering to do that, but without resources they can't do their work. It's like, you have a vehicle and you don't put gas in it and you don't charge it up, they can't run," Low said.

The 36-year-old man who was stabbed was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he had surgery. He is listed in critical condition.

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