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Exclusive: Wife Of Asian Man Brutally Beaten In East Harlem: 'This Should Not Happen To My Husband Or Anyone Else. This Is America'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The family of an Asian man attacked in East Harlem spoke out Sunday.

In an exclusive interview with CBS2's Kiran Dhillon, the victim's family said he remains in a coma in the ICU.

Baozhen Chen spent much of Sunday praying. The 57-year-old is experiencing deep sorrow as her husband, Yao Pan Ma, fights for his life in a Manhattan hospital following a brutal beating.

"I'm very scared right now. I'm so worried that my husband might never come back," Chen said through a translator.

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(credit: CBS2)

A 13-second surveillance video shows the attack that took place Friday night at the corner of 125th Street and Third Avenue. The 61-year-old victim was collecting cans when police say he was attacked.

The suspect pushed Ma to the ground before repeatedly stomping on his head.

He was taken to Harlem Hospital with significant head injuries and remains in critical-but-stable condition.

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is now investigating.

"I am very panicked and sad," Chen said. "My husband is very hardworking and nice person."

Chen said the couple, who share two children back in China, immigrated to New York in late 2018. Chen said her husband worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant until he lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ineligible for unemployment, he started collecting bottles and cans to pay the bills.

The couple's neighbors said they're horrified to hear about the assault.

"They're good people. I think they're good people. It's very sad. They just collect bottles. They don' make any noise up here. I think it's horrible," Jermaine Mack said.

Friday's attack comes amid a spike in hate against Asian-Americans in New York and across the country. As of last week, anti-Asian attacks in the city had increased 450% compared to the same period last year.

On Sunday, dozens of people marched through Manhattan, stopping at the site of Ma's attack in East Harlem to speak out against anti-Asian hate.

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(credit: CBS)

"We have to stick together and fight violence at its root causes," Jason Wu said. "I'm family with the Chinese Asian community and I want us to stand in solidarity and protect each other."

Police have released images of the suspect. A GoFundMe account for the family has also been started.

Ma's wife said she is grateful for the support.

"This should not happen to my husband or anyone else. This is America. I wish the criminal can be arrested and put in jail for good," Chen said.

A vigil for the Ma will be held Monday at 6 p.m. at Harlem Hospital.

Anyone with information on this attack is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon and Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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