A Chinese massage therapist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico was severely beaten for asking a customer to put on a face mask. The victim who wished to remain anonymous told KOB 4, the incident happened in December of last year when a man entered the massage parlor without a mask on. She asked the man to put on a face mask but he refused so she refused him service. He allegedly called the woman racial slurs like the “Chinese virus” before assaulting her.
“Her injuries were head to toe. She had injuries to her feet, her knees. She had muscle strains. She had abrasions everywhere. She also had an extreme amount of inflammation to her chest area and some bruising on her ribs making it difficult to breathe,” APD’s Violence Intervention Unit Sgt. Gerard Bartlett said. “She also discussed not being able to work for a period of time after the attack.”
The woman initially didn’t go to the hospital but the next day the pain hit her and especially in her chest forcing her to go to the hospital. The pain was so bad she thought she was going to die so she asked a local advocacy group to tell her parents if the worst happened. When the victim was in the hospital her translator told her another massage therapist was assaulted by a customer a day before.
The victim immigrated from China to the United States four years ago for better opportunities. She worked part-time as a massage therapist while she used her other time as a student learning English.
The police are investigating to see if the incident can be categorized as a hate crime.
“The initial charge was a misdemeanor count of aggravated battery, leaving painful temporary disfigurement,” said Sgt. Bartlett. “However, with the new knowledge of these documents injuries and the knowledge of these racial slurs that were verbalized toward the individual to the attack, it’s important we take into consideration the entire element of the investigation. And right now we’re working with the DA’s office to see if these charges rise to the level of a felony crime.”
The police are looking for a white male driving a white Ford with Florida license plates CLW4172.