JiaJia Liang, center, spoke briefly at the office of Assemblyman Ron Kim on January 7 to thank the community for their support.
Police have made two arrests in a gruesome attack in Whitestone that left a 16-year-old girl with slashes to her neck and face.
When Oakland Gardens resident Wilson Lai became jealous of his 14-year-old girlfriend, he hired 37-year-old Devon Berkley to send her a message.
But when he went to carry out the attack on December 16, Berkley botched the job and instead mistakenly attacked JiaJia Liang at the intersection of 147th Street and 13th Avenue.
Liang, who was on her way to school and had recently arrived in the country from China, needed over 100 stitches to close the wounds. A boxcutter was found at the scene.
But the 25-year-old Lai wasn’t done. Weeks after the attack, he slashed three tires and broke eggs on the 14-year-old girl’s family car. He also left a note admitting the first attack was a mistake, but vowed to get it right the next time, promising her “beautiful face” would soon be gone.
Detectives were able to match the handwriting to Lai’s, leading to his arrest and numerous charges of rape, endangering the welfare of child and conspiracy.
Records from Lai’s cell phone led them to Berkley, who was arrested in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he was waiting extradition.
Liang has since moved from the house near where she was attacked, and is attending school with funds that were raised for her in the community.
“These arrests are an important step in the healing process for the young woman who was so brutally attacked, and we can all feel a little bit safer now that these hoodlums are behind bars,” said Councilman Peter Koo.