“#Thai model recalls horrifying Manhattan subway attack”
Growing up in Thailand, Bew Jirajariyawetch always idealized New York City and dreamed of moving there.
Then last month, the 23-year-old aspiring model and recent immigrant, saw “the other side” of the Big Apple when she was brutalized and robbed on a subway platform, she told The Post on Wednesday.
“I’m just glad that I’m still alive,” Jirajariyawetch said about the horrifying Nov. 22 mugging at the 34th Street-Herald Square station that left her bloodied and bruised.
The young woman, who moved to New York over the summer, was waiting for the train home to Queens at around 4 a.m. after seeing Thai-American singer Daboyway in concert with friends.
She was standing on the edge of the B, D, F, M platform when a stranger suddenly came up behind her and put her in a headlock — covering her nose, mouth and eyes, “to make sure I couldn’t make any noise.”
“He dragged me where nobody could see … Beat me … Took my purse,” Jirajariyawetch said, her voice trembling.
“I wish I had a chance to yell.”
Surveillance footage showed Jirajariyawetch’s attacker yanking the woman back several feet before throwing her to the ground and punching her multiple times. While she was down, the mugger allegedly touched the woman’s private parts and bolted with her purse, police said.
The harrowing video ends with the woman sitting up, dazed and bringing her hand up to her face.
Someone eventually found her and brought her to get help.
“I don’t know what would have happened,” had no one found her, Jirajariyawetch said.
A photo provided by Jirajariyawetch, and taken shortly after the assault, showed her face covered in purple bruises and dried blood caked under her nose and near her mouth. Another image showed more bruises and blood running down her legs.
She was taken to Lenox Hill HealthPlex in Greenwich Village and treated for her injuries.
The NYPD released surveillance photos of the suspect that showed him jumping the turnstile and walking through a desolate mezzanine area. No arrests have yet been made in the sickening attack.
Jirajariyawetch, who came to the Big Apple to study English and pursue a career in fashion, said she’d wanted to see the city since she was a little girl.
“When I was young I always wondered how the city would be,” she said.
“At first I admired the city,” Jirajariyawetch said. “Sadly, it changed for me… (Now) I see the other side.”
The unprovoked attack on Jirajariyawetch was just the latest in a string of recent assaults on straphangers, and came as crime — as well as ridership — returned to pre-pandemic levels on the transit system.
Police reported 60 incidents of serious crimes in the week before Jirajariyawetch was attacked, compared to just 33 in the same time period in 2020, when NYC saw a historically low subway population.
There has been a 27 percent uptick in felony assaults on the subway so far this year compared to 2019, a more accurate time comparison based on ridership rather than 2020, NYPD data shows.
So far this year, 408 serious assaults were reported compared to 313 in 2019, according to police data. Misdemeanor assaults, though, are down nearly the same percentage.
The city has also seen a major spike in anti-Asian violence this year, with 128 hate crimes against people of Asian descent reported by the NYPD through Nov. 28, compared to fewer than 30 for that same time period last year.
Recalling the aftermath of her assault, Jirajariyawetch choked up as she described having to tell her mom and dad what had happened.
One of the first things she asked a detective was “How could I tell my parents back there?”
“They couldn’t do anything at all. They are so far,” Jirajariyawetch said of her parents. “So I managed to tell everything just briefly, just not to freak them out.”
Despite her ordeal, Jirajariyawetch doesn’t have any current plans to leave New York.
Though she’s had to go back to using the transit system, she said, “It’s still terrifying.”
The brave woman hopes that speaking out will help cops identify and arrest the man who attacked her.
“Please, please help to catch the guy because nobody should face this situation at all,” she pleaded.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
Her lawyer, Eric Parnes, expressed outrage that the suspect was able to simply stroll into the usually busy station and randomly attack his client. He also said it was troubling that there wasn’t more or better quality footage of the assault available to investigators.
“Justice must be served and actionable steps taken to protect the rights of those who are disproportionately victims of violence and often legally underrepresented,” Parnes said in a statement.
“We must show the world what we are capable of as New Yorkers.”
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy
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