Several men outside the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity house violently beat UCSB student Thanh Hong and a friend last month, while allegedly screaming “gook” and other racial slurs throughout the assault.
According to Hong’s attorney Edwin Prather, Hong and his friend were walking past the fraternity house on their way home last month when they were verbally harassed by several men inside.
“There were people standing on the patio of Pike and four male individuals came out of the house and started making racial slurs toward Thanh calling him ‘ching-chong-ching’ and ‘gook,'” Prather said.
The verbal barrage quickly escalated into an unprovoked physical assault, Prather said.
“They challenged Thanh to a fight, saying things like, ‘I know Kung Fu,'” Prather said. “Then one of the men sucker punched Thanh’s friend in the side of the head. When Thanh went to help his friend the aggressor hit Thanh in the face.”
At this point, Prather said, a scuffle emerged between the two groups and a second wave of men emerged from the fraternity house. One man was allegedly armed with a broomstick.
However, Hong managed to flee the scene before a full-blown mob attack transpired because the aggressor found the situation too comical to carry on, Prather said.
“At one point the aggressor stopped hitting Thanh because he started laughing, which gave Thanh a chance to pick his friend up and escape,” Prather said.
At approximately 2:20 a.m. on March 2, Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers received reports of the beating and arrived on the scene. Meanwhile, Hong sought medical attention and received several stitches in his face; his friend allegedly suffered from short-term memory loss.
Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Brian Olmstead said although his department had verified the attack they are still working with members of the fraternity as well as other individuals implicated in the incident to pinpoint a suspect.
“We have confirmed that there was an assault that occurred outside the Pike fraternity house and that several injuries occurred,” Olmstead said. “Right now as part of an ongoing investigation we are contacting witnesses and we have identified a potential subject. We are not releasing any further information because it may influence what the witnesses say. We want as clean of an investigation as possible.”
David Klein, Former P.I.K.E. President and current Public Relations Chair, said the fraternity is cooperating with the authorities to resolve the issue at hand.
“The members of our chapter are very sympathetic and concerned for Thanh and his friend for the events that occurred in early March. We will continue to work together with the witnesses and the police to make sure they obtain all the facts and details about this unfortunate incident,” Klein, a fourth-year communication major, said. “As a diverse fraternity comprised of people from various ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds, we ask that there is no ‘rush to judgment,’ as many discrepant reports have circulated about this matter.”
In response to the alleged beating, Klein said P.I.K.E. will feature an educational booth addressing acts of aggression at their boxing tournament later this month.
“We are looking forward to uniting with the multi-cultural organizations on April 17 at our annual charity fundraiser Fight Night, as we will be setting up booths and raising awareness about violence and racism in Isla Vista,” Klein said.
Prather said the parties involved in the ongoing investigation have demonstrated a willingness to bring the perpetrator to justice.
“I am guardedly optimistic everyone is doing the right thing,” Prather said. “I was told by the P.I.K.E. leadership that the fraternity wanted to do the right thing, but there is no doubt that a hate crime occurred in front of the fraternity house, and we need to find the person responsible and call him out for what he is.”