One of the four homeless men who were bludgeoned to death over the weekend by a homicidal maniac was remembered Monday as a “hardworking” and “gentle man.”
“We are here to tell you about an innocent man, a gentle man, a polite man,” Shirley Ng, 52, said of her pal, 83-year-old Cheun Kok, during a vigil in Chinatown pocket park Kimlau Square.
Kok was slain early Saturday while sleeping nearby in front of 2 Bowery by a suspect who fatally beat three other sleeping vagrants and critically wounded another in the neighborhood during the pre-dawn rampage.
“He was brutally attacked while just trying to sleep — something we all do. He died sleeping in hopes of waking up to see what lies ahead tomorrow,” Ng told reporters as a friend held up a photo of Kok taken Sept. 23.
According to Ng, Kok was an immigrant from Hong Kong and only spoke Cantonese.
“We heard he had once lived on East Houston Street and had a job in which he flew a great distance for work — most likely working at a restaurant and not returning home for weeks,” Ng said. “This was very common for Chinese immigrants to do decades ago. We heard he was a hardworking man.”
Ng said she met Kok about two months ago while walking through Chinatown.
“He was a very gentle man. He never asked for anything. You’d talk to him — he was just a peaceful man,” she said.
Another woman, who only identified herself as Kim, sobbed as she recalled how she just saw Kok Friday night after bringing him food.
“I feel so bad for him. He was always saying, ‘Thank you, Ms. Kim,’” she remembered. “I knew him when I was a little girl. My relative was his friend.”
Whenever Kim gave Kok food, she said, “he was very polite.”
“I wish the city had helped him. It’s too late now,” Kim said.
Last month, Ng said, she and Kim brought roast pork buns to Kok, who she noticed wasn’t wearing his shoes at the time because “his toenails were way too long.”
“He sat there scratching and needed a bath as we approached him,” said Ng. “We gave him the roast pork buns and a bottle of water and told him about The Bowery Mission just a few blocks away from there.”
Roughly a dozen local pols and homeless advocates descended on Kimlau Square on Monday, each holding a single white carnation before a makeshift memorial in the aftermath of the heinous killings.
Randy Santos, 24, confessed to the grisly slayings and was hit with murder and attempted murder charges.