A woman was attacked in the subway by a group of assailants shouting anti-Asian slurs earlier this month, the latest such incident in a year of rising hate crimes against people of Asian descent, according to the NYPD.

Police are searching for six people in the attack against the 32-year-old woman, which began when the group confronted her for not wearing a mask on public transit, then yelled "anti-Asian statements" related to coronavirus, the NYPD said.

The woman was on the A train at West Fourth Street in Manhattan when a group of three men and three women began harassing her around 1:45 p.m. on December 17th.

The argument spiraled into physical violence, and they punched the woman in the face multiple times, according to the department. She suffered bruises and substantial pain but declined medical treatment.

The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident. The NYPD released photos of five of the alleged attackers late Saturday.

Hate crimes and discrimination against people of Asian descent in NYC have risen.

Through November 29th, there have been 24 hate crimes related to COVID-19, most of which have been against Asians, according to the NYPD's figures from earlier this month. Another three hate crimes have been reported against people of Asian descent that were unrelated to COVID-19. There were three hate crimes reported against Asians during the same time period in 2019.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights had received 133 reports of anti-Asian discrimination between February 1st and May 15th, up from 11 last year during the same time period.

In response to the increase in discrimination, the commission formed a team to specifically address COVID-related human rights violations against Asian New Yorkers. And the NYPD formed a hate crimes task force with a team of Asian-American investigators who speak a range of Asian languages.

NBC News reported that critics say the police department's task force is a "band-aid" to the problem, which requires more education and restorative justice strategies to address the underlying cause of anti-Asian discrimination. The rise in discrimination is a nationwide problem that has coincided with President Donald Trump's repeated conflation of the virus with people from China.