Surveillance video of the incident obtained by the station, showed a barefoot man wielding a machete scare off four people who then boarded a black vehicle parked nearby.
“I heard my mom screaming and that’s when I ran out. If I hadn’t come out they would have done a lot worse,” the man, who did not want to be identified, told ABC7 News. The video shows one of the men ripping a chain off his mother’s neck, while another grabs a cellphone and keys from his father’s pockets.
The Oakland Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment and specifics about the attack, nor whether it was being investigated as a hate crime.
The incident comes amid a surge of violent attacks against Asian Americans both in the Bay Area and across the country, with the deadliest being the Atlanta spa shootings March 16 that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.
Just the day before the robbery in Oakland, a Vietnamese couple was tied up and assaulted in front of their 7-year-old daughter while their house was ransacked and they were robbed of their life savings, local media reported.
In January, 84 year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, from Thailand, was taking a morning walk in San Francisco when a man violently barreled him to the ground and walked away. He died of his injuries a few days later.
The brutal attack, captured in surveillance video that was widely shared, prompted outrage among residents, activists and even Hollywood celebrities who decried the targeted violence and organized protests to demand justice and a reckoning with anti-Asian racism.
Following the incidents, local authorities condemned the violence and vowed to address the problem. A special response unit to investigate crimes against Asian Americans was created.
“We will help victims heal from their trauma and help the businesses be strong again(…),” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said at a news conference in Oakland in February.
“We will all be vigilant in protecting the Asian community,” she added.
But violence targeting Asians in the streets of California not only did not reduce, it increased in the following weeks.
In mid-March, three people were brutally attacked in San Francisco in just one week, including a 75-year-old grandmother from China and an 83-year-old Vietnamese man.
The most recent attacks in Oakland also come amid a surge of gun violence and murders in the city, with 34 homicides reported this year alone, a 230 percent increase over the same period last year, according to police reports.
Oakland Police Department Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong announced Friday the creation of the Violent Crime Operations Center to respond to the wave of crime.
In a news conference, Armstrong addressed the recent violent episodes and said he understood the “impatience” of victims who demand answers and protection from the police, arguing that they are doing the best they can with limited resources and that investigations take time.
Also Friday, a crowd of approximately 200 mostly young people took to the streets of Oakland to protest anti-Asian racism.