Michael Sangbong Rhee was arrested after Irvine police alleged he assaulted an Asian woman and mistook her for white in retaliation for the rise in hate crimes.
An Asian man was arrested after California police alleged he abducted an Asian woman and tried to sexually assault her. She believed she was white in retaliation for the increase in hate crimes against Asians.
Michael Sangbong Rhee, 37, was arrested at his home in Lake Forest on Thursday evening, police said in a Facebook post. Rhee has been charged with kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault and is being held in Orange County Jail on $ 1 million bail.
Police said an Asian woman was sitting in her car near her home on Thursday afternoon, looking up to see Rhee holding a gun. Rhee reportedly told the woman that if she wanted to live, police said she would have to get in the back of her car.
The woman offered Rhee money and her wallet, and Rhee replied that they would “do that later,” the police said, before Rhee pushed her into the back seat. According to the authorities, the woman believed she was killed or sexually assaulted and tried to escape.
Police said Rhee committed a sexual battery against the woman and she yelled that Rhee had given a gun to a maintenance worker who was nearby. According to official information, Rhee ran out of the car and got into his vehicle. Surveillance footage held his license plate as he drove away.
Irvine police said they found Rhee’s house from his license plate information and arrested Rhee. Detectives reportedly received a search warrant and found several items from Rhee’s apartment and car, including a BB gun, that linked him to the crimes.
Rhee reportedly targeted the Asian woman for mistaking her for white, according to detectives. They also believe Rhee attacked the woman in “retaliation for hate crimes against the Asian community” and is indicting hate crimes in the criminal complaint filed with the Orange County Prosecutor’s Office.
Summer Lin is a McClatchy real-time news reporter. She graduated from Columbia University School of Journalism and was previously a news and policy writer for Bustle News.