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Community shaken after senior found badly beaten in Visitacion Valley park

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San Francisco Police Captain Jack Hart speaks about 89-year-old Yik Oi Huang at a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Huang is in the Intensive Care Unit at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after she was found beaten near a park in Visitacion Valley early Tuesday morning. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

An 89-year-old Chinese grandmother remained in critical condition Wednesday afternoon after an apparent beating in a Visitacion Valley park a day earlier, leaving community members fearful and prompting city leaders to denounce the attack.

District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who represents the neighborhood, held a Wednesday afternoon press conference at City Hall to call for help in solving the case and to commit to increasing police presence in the area.

“It is heartbreaking to see this type of senseless violence in our community, and no one should ever endure this level of barbarism,” Walton said.

Neighborhood advocate Marlene Tran said that the community is shaken by the incident, where many of the older Chinese American residents now fear for their own safety.

“This case has traumatized our whole community,” Tran said. “Everybody is so scared.”

“This is something that we want everyone to know that we are committed to stopping and that we will not tolerate acts of violence in our community, particularly on our elderly community,” Walton said. “There is no place across the city for incidents like this.”

Capt. Jack Hart of Ingleside Station said the department received a 911 call at 6:50 am Tuesday reporting a home burglary. The woman was found a short time later near her home, at a park on the 1000 block of Visitacion Ave.

Granddaughter Sasanna Yee identified the woman as Yik Oi Huang and described her as “a rosy cheeked jolly grandmother.”

“She has a radiant heart. Exercises everyday. Taught me some Qigong to keep myself healthy,” Yee said.

Yee said her grandmother immigrated from China about 35 years ago and worked jobs like washing dishes or janitorial work. She lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years.

Yee said that her grandmother does her routine morning exercises in the park. In a Facebook post, Yee wrote that her grandmother’s home “was broken in to (2nd time in a year) when she left to exercise in the park and they didn’t find anything valuable. So they drag and beat her up to a bloody pulp in the park.”

Hart would not confirm those details of the incident at Wednesday’s press conference.

Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee said that “this is not the first time such violence has happened to seniors and we need to put a stop to these type of things.”

He also called for more bi-lingual and culturally competent police officers to assist Chinese crime victims.

Hart said officers have gone door-to-door looking for witnesses and surveillance video, and he asked anyone in the area to check for video footage and come forward with any information.

“Any lead in this case, no matter how small could give us the break that we desperately need,” Hart said. “We are relentlessly pursuing whoever is involved in this.”

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