By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While Anh ‘Peng’ Taylor was recovering Thursday from the wounds suffered in a vicious attack on a San Francisco street, her family began sharing details of her amazing journey from war-torn Southeast Asia to the Bay Area.

The 94-year-old was born in Haiphong in 1926 of Chinese and Vietnamese descent. Later in life, she immigrated to Laos as Vietnam was embroiled in war. She worked as a chef in a restaurant she owned, where she met her future husband. They married in Bangkok and lived there for a few years, before moving to Hawaii, then on to San Francisco in the early 1970s.

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Her husband, a U.S. war veteran, passed away nearly two years ago. She has lived in the same apartment in San Francisco’s crime-ridden Tenderloin neighborhood for 45 years, taking her daily walks, waving to neighbors.

On Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. in the 800 block of Post St., she was attacked allegedly by 35-year-old Daniel Cauich, who was taken into custody two hours later.

She was stabbed through the wrist, suffered other lacerations and was struck in the head. Police say she did nothing to provoke the attack. Taylor was simply taking her daily walk.

“She just goes for little walks with her cane, she doesn’t bother anybody,” said friend and neighbor Miranda Benvenuti. “She gives us cookies.”

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“It’s just sad that someone (the suspect) would be such a monster and so cruel,” Benvenuti added.

Her niece spoke to KPIX 5’s Betty Yu, telling her that her aunt asked her from her hospital bed: “Why would something like this happen to me?”

It was not immediately known if Taylor was targeted because of her race or was a random victim in a neighborhood plagued by crime. But there has been stunning rise of violence toward Asian Americans in San Francisco Bay Area since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

There have been dozens of attacks, some fatal, in Oakland, San Francisco and the South Bay.

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According to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, released on June 1 there were 12 reported hate crimes committed against Asian-Americans in San Francisco during the first quarter of 2021 — a 140 percent increase over the first quarter of 2020.