‘Is that a Filipino thing?’: Vietnamese man harassed about child's dinosaur flag, has car windows smashed

·2 min read

A Vietnamese man’s car windows were smashed by an unidentified man who had earlier harassed him about his 3-year-old son’s dinosaur flag in San Jose, Calif.

An encounter turned sour: On Sept. 22, Thien Ly was in his driveway with his young children when an unidentified man drove up to them and asked “What flag is that?” referring to his son’s dinosaur flag, according to ABC 7.

  • Ly misheard the question and answered, “Taga,” for the brand of bicycle he was using. He told the stranger that he could look for more details online and was going to walk away.

  • “It turned when he thinks I was brushing him off,” Ly told NBC Bay Area. “Because when I said ‘Taga,’ he said, 'is that a Filipino thing?’ I was like ‘no.’”

  • The man proceeded to act strangely during the encounter: he got out of his car to record Ly and license plates, asked “What’s your favorite charity?” and repeatedly called him a “pedophile creep,” while cursing in front of his children.


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That same night: San Jose police confirmed that the man returned two hours later to smash in Ly’s car windows with 2.5-pound weights.

  • A neighbor’s Ring surveillance camera caught the man shouting, “F**king pedophile,” before he left.

  • Ly thinks that he was targeted because of his race.

  • “I feel he did it because I’m Asian. I don’t see anything that would provoke him to get out of the car, call me names and try to make me do something to him,” he said.

  • He added, “I think he thinks that I’m Filipino because I can pass for Filipino, but I'm actually Vietnamese.”

  • Ly is speaking out now so that it doesn’t happen again, and so his children can grow up safely in his otherwise quiet neighborhood. He wants to bring awareness about his incident to his community, in hopes that someone will recognize the man and report him.

  • San Jose police are investigating the matter as vandalism but don’t believe it is a hate crime or racially motivated.

Featured Image via ABC 7 (left), NBC Bay Area (right)

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