Vicha Ratanapakdee

SAN FRANCISCO — A Go Fund Me campaign has been launched in memory of an elderly Thai American who died following an assault in San Francisco.

The man’s son-in-law, Eric Lawson, gave the following account:

“Eighty-four-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died at 6:07 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 at S.F. General Hospital from injuries sustained while on his routine morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco.

“Originally from Thailand, he was a nearly blind, gentle person, beloved by his family. He was violently taken from them by a despicable19-year-old thug that came to his neighborhood via a car disabled by an earlier hit-and-run, and then decided to prove how tough he was by brutalizing a senior citizen. Our family has endured multiple verbal anti-Asian attacks since the beginning of the pandemic … this time it was fatal.

“Racism has once again proven deadly. Anti-Asian racism has become a very serious danger to all Asian Americans, particularly in San Francisco. It’s time the authorities took serious action to combat it. For your own safety and/or that of your Asian American family, friends, and neighbors, call [District Attorney] Chesa Boudin … and demand action on this despicable case.

“The perpetrator has been identified, and is now in jail awaiting court process. And now that Mr.Vicha Ratanapakdee has died of his injuries, hard prosecution for this murderous hate crime is the only path to justice and community safety.

“From Mr Ratanapakdee’s daughter … There are no words we can describe how our family feels in this overwhelming loss … Our father going out for his morning walk after his daily routine of preparing his young grandsons for their day, and after just surviving his recent heart surgery … and then never coming back to our family ever again … We could not even know he was aware that his family was with him when he died.

“And now our young sons without their beloved grandfather, who was such an immense part of their daily life … so senseless this is. Facing this terrible loss and how this happened will be forever now in the minds and eyes of our children. A legacy in memory of their grandfather brings to our young sons a brighter educational future in the honor of their grandfather … and a legacy that must be so much greater than the way he died.

“We are so very thankful to the medical doctors at General Hospital who tried to save his life … and to the San Francisco police officers who have done all in their power to help us in this unimaginable painful time … and in their work to capture the person who did this. And to everyone who is outpouring in their support of our family in this memorial legacy fund … our family is forever grateful.”

As of Friday evening, the campaign has raised nearly $44,000, surpassing the goal of $10,000.

In Southern California, Thai Americans Against Hate is planning a demonstration on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 12 p.m. at the Royal Thai Consulate General, 611 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles.

Event organizers said, “Our community was attacked! An 84-year-old Thai elder, Khun Vicha Ratanapakdee, was brutally murdered due to COVID-19-fueled anti-Asian racism in San Francisco … We must bring our community together to stand against the hate that Asian Americans continue to face daily. Stand with the Thai American community by joining a small safe and mask-wearing demonstration against hate at the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles.”

Before attending, check the event’s Facebook page.

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