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Chinatown Stabbing: Suspect Is Convicted Attempted Murderer, Released Days Ago

Written by Joe Burn and Han LiPublished May 30, 2023 • 5:02pm
Police work outside AA Bakery in San Francisco's Chinatown after a witness says a female worker was stabbed in the neck on Monday. | Courtesy photo

The suspect in a San Francisco Chinatown stabbing has a prior conviction for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, the same charges he is now accused of after being released from prison just days ago, court documents show. 

Fook Poy Lai stabbed an 89-year-old man in Portsmouth Square near Chinatown in 2016, Hoodline reports.

Lai is accused of stabbing a female worker at AA Bakery in Chinatown on Monday, nine days after being released from prison on May 20.

Witnesses say a man stabbed the woman in the neck at the popular Stockton Street bakery, causing her to bleed profusely before she was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital. Lai was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and a parole violation. 

After the assault, a photo circulated on social media of a man in a gray sweatsuit believed to be the suspect. A witness of the bakery stabbing said the attacker was dressed in white and gray clothing. 

Police work outside AA Bakery in San Francisco's Chinatown after a witness says a female worker was stabbed in the neck on Monday. | Courtesy photo

Lai was convicted of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in 2018 and sentenced to nine years in prison, a plea agreement document from the San Francisco Superior Court shows. 

A day after the stabbing at his bakery, owner Henry Chen was still in shock.

“Public safety is in such crisis; why still release those people?” Chen said in Cantonese. Chen also said he feels helpless as a San Francisco business owner.

According to Chen, the victim, a Cantonese-speaking immigrant, is recovering well and expected to be discharged from the hospital in seven to 10 days. She is a new employee at the bakery and is still being trained. 

Chen said the victim did not know the suspect.

The District Attorney's Office said Lai had completed serving his nine-year prison sentence for the 2016 attempted murder conviction.

Lai has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious bodily injury, false imprisonment and second-degree burglary by the DA's Office.

Prosecutors are asking the court to detain Lai without bail due to the public safety risk he poses and revoke his parole.

His arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Hall of Justice.

If convicted of all charges he faces life in state prison, according to the DA's Office.

Joe Burn can be reached at jburn@sfstandard.com
Han Li can be reached at han@sfstandard.com


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