Man accused of Ala Moana chemical attack had just been in jail

Jan. 27—A 29-year-old man suspected of throwing a liquid chemical on a 25-year-old Chinese language teacher Tuesday night had just been released from jail Monday.

Sebastian Mahkwan had been charged in October on unrelated charges of assault and drug possession and was out on an $8,000 bail bond when he was arrested Thursday on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder.

Police said that during the course of their investigation, they positively identified the suspect, and a Crime Reduction Unit found and arrested him 8:58 p.m. Thursday at 500 N. Nimitz Highway. He also was caught on surveillance video.

>> READ MORE: Victim identified in chemical attack near Ala Moana Center

The woman was attacked near Ala Moana Center while walking near Planet Fitness. The assailant was seen fleeing on foot toward Kapiolani Boulevard and later seen shirtless riding a bicycle from Kona Street onto Keeaumoku Street.

For now Mahkwan has been arrested but had not yet been charged as of Friday.

Honolulu police said charges will be sought with the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office.

The attack left the woman in critical condition, and she lost consciousness shortly after paramedics arrived. But according to Vernon Ching, who heads the local chapter of the U.S. China Peoples Friendship Association, she regained consciousness Thursday.

Mahkwan was being held prior to his release Monday at the Oahu Community Correctional Center on charges of third-degree assault for allegedly attacking a man on Oct. 17 and causing injury to his head and left forearm.

He also was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and was charged with third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.

But Mahkwan has received numerous criminal citations related to homelessness for the most part during the pandemic. They include obstruction of a sidewalk in November 2021, the latest such citation, and entering a closed public park and a prohibited tent in a public park in January 2021. But the scores of citations began May 7, 2020, and ran through Oct. 8 of that year. They included violating the emergency order during the pandemic and not having a permit required for a sidewalk structure.

It appears Mahkwan came to Hawaii after having lived in South Dakota. According to one people search database, his last known address was from 2018, and he has a relative living in Honolulu.

On Thursday the Chinese consul general in Los Angeles, Guo Shaochun, "urged Chinese citizens to be more aware of risks and take necessary precautions to protect themselves," according to an article by Xinhua, a Chinese news agency.

The consul general has asked the Hawaii state government to help with the medical treatment of the injured woman, and urged the Honolulu Police Department to speed up the investigation to bring the perpetrator to justice as soon as possible.

The article has been widely published in Chinese- language newspapers.

The victim came from Shandong, China, near Beijing, on an international exchange program and is in her second year teaching Mandarin at Maryknoll School.

Several members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii helped host her and showed her around Hawaii when she first arrived in 2022.

"The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is reaching out to our members and the public to join hands in supporting her," the organization said in a news release. "The medical expenses, ongoing treatments, and the long road to recovery are daunting, and she cannot face them alone.

"Your generous contribution to this GoFundMe campaign will provide crucial financial support for her medical bills, rehabilitation and counseling."

The members also want to aid the parents, who are farmers in Shandong, to come to Hawaii to be with their daughter.

Go to gofundme.com/help-needed-for-a-chemical-attack-victim.