by Julie Shaw
A CHINESE-TAKEOUT owner, confined for more than 21 months to hospital beds since he was viciously attacked outside his West Oak Lane business in 2010, died Thursday.
Jicun Wu, 44, was featured in a November 2010 Daily News article about the perils faced by Chinese-immigrant owners in running a takeout in the city.
On the morning of June 8, 2010, Malik Niblack, then 21, who lived near the takeout, waited outside the eatery on 66th Avenue near Uber Street. After Wu returned from buying groceries, Niblack punched him to the ground, then kicked him at least 10 times, severely damaging his pancreas and intestines, as Wu went in and out of consciousness.
The assault followed an argument Niblack had with Wu’s wife. He had accused her of charging him 25 cents too much for something he had bought, she has said.
In his police statement, Niblack said he didn’t stop attacking Wu even as the victim “balled up.”
“I kicked him a couple more times,” Niblack said. “He was making this funny noise. He was screaming. It was funny. I started laughing at him.”
Niblack, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder last year, is serving a six-to-15-year sentence in state prison.
The District Attorney’s Office on Friday said it is deciding whether it now will charge Niblack with murder.
Wu and his wife, Qinhui Chen, both came from Fujian Province in southeastern China about a decade ago, leaving behind two young sons. They opened their takeout in 2009.
Chen, 36, said in a brief phone interview yesterday that she had been expecting her husband to recover and was shocked by his death.
He died at Einstein’s Willowcrest rehab facility in Logan. Wu had spent about four months at the Albert Einstein Medical Center hospital right after the attack; he was then transferred to the next-door rehabilitative facility. But in recent months, depending on his condition, he was transferred back to the hospital, then back again to the rehab facility, where he was confined to a bed.
He hadn’t been able to eat on his own; instead, he was fed through a tube into his intestines.
“Every time, he told me he want to go home, he don’t want to stay at the hospital,” his wife said yesterday. “He want to go into the house. Eat some food. In the hospital, one year, 10 months, he eat nothing.”
The couple’s two sons, now 13 and 16, arrived in Philly from China a week ago after receiving visas. They had not seen their parents for about 10 years. They were able to see their father before he died.
LiFeng Liao, a victim advocate at Center City Crime Victim Services, said that victim-compensation funds for Wu paid for only his medical bills. Chen does not have money to pay for her husband’s funeral or the rent for the takeout business.
People who would like to help Chen may send checks in her name, Qinhui Chen, to: Greater Philadelphia Fujian Association, c/o Mei Ren, president; 905 Arch St., Room 202; Philadelphia 19107.