SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mantakarn Seenin, who is Thai, was on her way to work from Balboa Park in San Francisco Tuesday morning around 8 a.m., when she was attacked.
BART police said the assault happened on an East Bay-bound train between 16th Street and Civic Center stations.READ MORE: UPDATE: Cal ISO Extends Flex Alert Into Friday; Bay Area, NorCal Heat Wave May Break Records
She said a man, described as a young African American, demanded her phone. Seenin said before she could even respond, he started hitting her in the face.
“I didn’t say nothing, he just like started punching me on my face, and hit me you know like, they asked me how many times, I cannot remember how many times that he punching on my face,” she recalled in an interview with KPIX 5’s Betty Yu.
A friend of the woman provided images of her following the attack, showing a bruise and swelling around her left eye.
Seenin said he grabbed her phone and ran out of the train car at Civic Center station.
“I think two guys that saw it and then they stood up and tried to help me, but it happened so quickly,” she said.
The bystanders called BART police and officers showed up within 10 to 15 minutes.
“Right now, my face kind of swelling,” Seenin said. “In my eye kind of bleeding a little bit.”
When asked what she would say to her attacker:READ MORE: Oakland's Mills College Looks At Potential Merger With Northeastern University, May Confer Degrees Again
“I think he young… I want them to know that you should go to work, make your life better, don’t do like this,” she said.
Seenin said given the rise in attacks on Asian Americans, she doesn’t carry a lot of cash, wears a small crossbody bag, and had pepper spray.
“I have pepper spray in my bag, but I never used on that time, because it happened so quickly… I felt like in the morning, I don’t think nothing happen,” she said.
Seenin works as a server at a restaurant near Chinatown, and also helps out at another restaurant.
She has lived in San Francisco for eight years, and said around three years ago, she was robbed of her cell phone on BART. Bystanders helped her retrieve it at that time.
“I think maybe I’m a target, because I’m a small, tiny girl,” she added. “Maybe easy for them to steal something from my pocket, you know?”
BART police said officers responded and searched the train, but no suspect has been identified and no arrest has been made. There was no indication a weapon was involved, police said.
Investigators were reviewing surveillance video from the train and stations.MORE NEWS: Gas Leak In San Francisco's Inner Richmond Prompts Shelter-In-Place, Evacuations
Seenin has set up a Gofundme page.