A Taiwanese student residing in the United States alleges she was the victim of an assault and racial discrimination following an incident at the New York Public Library.
Writing on the Taiwanese online forum D-card
, Polin Huang recounted how she was purportedly attacked by a woman
in the library and then faced indifference from security guards when she asked for their help.
According to Huang, an African American woman suddenly punched her in the face as she was exiting the bathroom on the fifth floor of the New York Public Library’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library branch at around 7:15 p.m. on May 17. The impact of the assault caused Huang to hit her head on the corner of the bathroom wall, resulting in profuse bleeding.
Huang claimed that when she approached five security guards present at the scene for help, they appeared more interested in “covering for each other” rather than addressing her urgent situation.
Her friend immediately sought assistance to stop the assailant from leaving the building but the guards reportedly allowed her to get away.
Huang’s friend uploaded a video on TikTok that captured her confrontation with the suspect and their subsequent interaction with security guards.
In the video, Huang’s friend can be heard expressing concern about Huang’s bleeding and warning others in an elevator about the assailant’s actions. The security guard can be heard assuring them that the police are on their way but tells them, “If we do something, we get arrested.”
The video ends with the alleged attacker preparing to enter another elevator. Huang was rushed to a hospital for emergency medical treatment for her injuries.
In her post, Huang described the incident as an “indiscriminate attack” and expressed concern about the long-lasting psychological impact it could have on her.
She contacted the Overseas Emergency Assistance phone number of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) to file a lawsuit against the New York Public Library or seek compensation.
Huang shared that she was disappointed by the MOFA and BOCA as she only received a phone call from an immigration lawyer instead of the assistance she had expected.
In a press release on May 22, the MOFA stated that it had investigated the incident by gathering more information and offering the victim the assistance she required in filing a case against the library.
MOFA shared that, in accordance with its contingency plan for Taiwanese citizens living abroad, the representative office provided the victim with the contact information of lawyers, including the Asian American Bar Association of New York and other attorneys. Additionally, the office assured the victim of its willingness to provide further assistance if necessary.
According to the agency, the Taiwan representative office in New York maintains close contact with local law enforcement agencies, actively advocating for the safety of Taiwanese nationals and overseas Taiwanese.
Condemning all forms of violence, including racial hatred and discrimination, the ministry urged all Taiwanese citizens traveling abroad or residing overseas, as well as Taiwanese exchange students, to promptly seek assistance from local law enforcement agencies or the nearest Taiwan representative office in case of emergencies involving personal safety.