elderly asian man collecting cans attacked

@nicholaaasli/Twitter Kris Seavers

Video shows people harassing elderly Asian man while he collects cans

The man can be seen crying as they heckle him. One person even hits him with a stick.


Allyson Waller


Posted on Feb 25, 2020

The San Francisco Police Department said it is investigating a recent incident captured on video that shows residents harassing and attacking an Asian man.

In the video, multiple individuals heckle an elderly Asian man as he’s collecting bags of empty cans. The police department said “it’s too early to label the incident as a suspected hate crime,” local station KRON-TV reports.


Throughout the video, the man is called multiple expletives. One person is seen running after the man and hitting him with a stick. Toward the end of the video, the person behind the camera says, “I hate Asians.”


San Francisco Police commented on Twitter, saying it is “attempting to ID the victim.” The video’s original post on Instagram has been taken down, according to local station KGO-TV, but screen grabs of the video have been reposted multiple times.

According to California law, residents can redeem empty bottles and cans for about five to ten cents each. In 2016, The Guardian reported that many who rely on cash from trading in empty cans were hit hard after the closure of more than 100 recycling centers across the state.

There have been multiple calls online to identify those in the viral video. Most posts have sympathized with the man who was targeted.



Shamann Walton, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors that oversees the city and county, denounced the incident, KGO-TV reports. The video is said to have taken place in the city’s Bayview District.

“Elder abuse is taking place,” Walton told KGO-TV. “We’re working on getting somebody intermittently who can work with our office to coordinate how to respond to and prevent and intervene in violence in our district as a whole.”

Marlene Tran, a spokesperson for the Visitacion Valley Asian Alliance, told station KPIX-TV the video was “heartbreaking” to watch.

“It is hard to understand in a city like San Francisco how this could happen,” Tran said.


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*First Published: Feb 25, 2020, 6:23 pm CST