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Interview: Community Worker Talks About Recycling Robbery Attack Victim

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- On Wednesday, KPIX 5 reporter Joe Vazquez spoke with Michael Wong of the Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYCSF) about the victim in the Bayview-Hunters Point attack and recycling robbery over the weekend that was caught on video.

The CYCSF is representing the victim and helping him navigate the process of reporting the crime to SFPD and offering him other assistance, according to Wong. Below is a transcript of the interview.

Michael Wong: He's a very proud old man. He's been doing it for several years. Going out every day. He said he went around to the place where the incident happened and he knows the African-American people living there. He said they are very kind to him. Some neighbors collect cans and give them to him.

Joe Vazquez: He went out of his way to note that many of the neighbors are very kind to him?

Michael Wong: Very kind. When you see the video, you see he had big bags of cans and bottles. He didn't pick them up. People gave them to him.

Joe Vazquez: But what happened with this particular group?

Michael Wong: The second time, he went there again. This time, the man waved a stick and said all these bad things to him, racial slurs, and hit him in the head with the stick. It was bad.

Joe Vazquez: They did hit him in the head?

Michael Wong: Right in the head. I think we can not tolerate these kind of things.

Joe Vazquez: How is he doing?

MICHAEL:  He was fine. I said 'I have to take you to the police station now.' We called Cpt. Troy Dangerfield.  So I put his hand truck, everything into my trunk and drove him to the station.

Joe Vazquez: Where is he from and how long has he lived here?

MICHAEL:  He's from China, from a village called Kaiping [in Guandong Province] and he's been here for less than 6 years. He speaks no English. When we asked him if has applied to any agencies for benefits, welfare, housing, he said, 'no, no, no.' He has stopped working so he makes a living just picking up cans. And his wife is a part time IHSS worker. Home health supportive work services, taking care of seniors.  So, very low income. Living in the Bayview.

Joe Vazquez: Do they live inside?  They're not homeless?

MICHAEL:  No, no. We went to his house and talked to him. He doesn't know where CYC is so we drove him back to the office. We said, 'we have all these applications for you. We can help you. If you need free food. If you need food stamps, if you need general assistance, we can help you process [the paperwork.]'

Joe Vazquez: This has really struck a nerve with a lot of people. The video is awful. And there are people all over the country who want to help him.  How can people help him?

MICHAEL:  People could help, but he is a very proud old man. He believes in being dependent on his own. He keep saying, 'I don't need benefits. I just want to go out and pick up cans and make a living."

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