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Attacker in 2019 Chinatown Rolex robbery and assault sentenced to 4 years

San Francisco Superior Court Hall of Justice | Camille Cohen | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

A high-profile 2019 assault and robbery case in San Francisco’s Chinatown has finally come to its conclusion with one of the perpetrators receiving a four-year prison sentence.

Dashawn Pierson, 22, appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday as Judge Loretta Giorgi read the sentencing and wished him good luck in the brief hearing.

Pierson and two other suspects were accused of assaulting two well-known Chinatown association leaders in July 2019, robbing one of the victim’s of their Rolex watch.

The incident sparked community outrage and a wave of media coverage as the violent episode was caught on camera in broad daylight. The outcry even prompted Mayor London Breed to visit Chinatown to reassure the community about public safety.

Walter Wong speaks at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association as the presiding president in 2022. | Courtesy Lucy Xie

The first victim, Walter Wong (黄中华), 56 at that time, was lifted up and thrown to the ground by three suspects, who later stole his watch, according to the San Francisco Police Department. The watch was never recovered. The second victim, Hong Chang Huang (黄宏昶), 69 at that time, attempted to intervene and was knocked unconscious.

As leaders of the Wong Family Benevolent Association (黄氏宗亲总会), both Wongs are prominent members of the Chinatown community. Walter Wong was also one of the top leaders at Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association at the time. He is not the same Walter Wong (黄永乐) as the permit expediter who was a central figure in a long-running City Hall corruption scandal.

Walter Wong told The Standard in Cantonese that he’s glad to see the sentence handed down, although he still hopes to get his watch back someday. He said the incident had a huge impact on him as he did not feel safe for a long time.

The case did not go to trial as the District Attorney’s Office and Pierson’s defense attorney entered a plea deal on the assault and elder abuse charges. Pierson is expected to be released later this year as he has been jailed for years before the sentencing.

Two other suspects in the case, Akeem Smith and Christopher Jefferson, were both arrested in 2020. Smith entered a plea deal similar to Pierson's, while Jefferson’s case is still pending. In Tuesday’s sentence, Pierson was ordered to pay back the equivalent amount of money for the Rolex watch.

Han Li can be reached at