Police are investigating an incident of xenophobic subway harassment after a Korean woman reported that a man attacked her on a Coney Island-bound N train, telling her to "get the fuck out of my country" before physically assaulting her. The woman, Seulji Lee, posted a video of the man on Facebook, along with a full account of what happened.
In the clip, a woman—Lee—can be seen grabbing at the back of a man's shirt on a subway platform. The man turns around and shoves her forcefully against an idling train car, muttering something that sounds like "fuck off." He then dashes up the subway stairs and out of sight.
Lee could not be reached for comment, but her friend—and the person who recorded the video—Seran Song told Gothamist that the man boarded the train at Union Square, and sat down next to Lee. In her post about the July 7th incident, Lee says she thought she heard the man say "fake" and make the remark about "his" country, but at first she was not sure he was addressing her.
Song recalled Lee asking her, in Korean, if she had heard what the man was murmuring to himself, and Song said to just ignore him. But then the man turned to Lee "with a big smile" that didn't seem friendly, as she wrote on Facebook, so Lee and Song got up, as if intending to exit the train. The man also moved to leave, Song said, prompting the pair to stay put—but seeing that they'd remained onboard, he hopped into another car, made his way back to where Lee and Song sat, and planted himself across from them.
As Lee and Song went to exit the train at Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, the man allegedly walked up and spat at the back of Lee's head. Lee turned to her friend and asked her if she'd just been spit on, before trying to catch the man on the subway platform and ask, "What did you do?" He pushed her off and into the train before fleeing the scene.
"I felt this guy could do something dangerous and had potential to harm," Song said, so she got out her camera and recorded a video. According to Lee's Facebook post, Song wasn't the only one who got a bad feeling from the man: Another woman who had noticed him "acting strange" sent Lee a picture she'd taken, "just in case."
Song and Lee are both South Korean nationals currently living in NYC while interning through the Korea WEST program.
An NYPD spokesperson said no arrests have been made in the case, and the investigation is ongoing.