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Slain tourist’s kin arrive from China

The family of Haiyan Yang is grieving after the China native was killed in a brutal attack in downtown Flushing. Photo courtesy the Yang family
TimesLedger Newspapers

The woman left brain dead after a vicious mugging in Flushing died at a Long Island medical facility late last month, and a Queens congressman helped secure a visa allowing her brother to come to America to claim her body.

Wei Yang and his wife arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from China after the travel hub resumed operations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Yang is here to bring the remains of his 37-year-old sister, Haiyan Yang, back to China after she was attacked in downtown Flushing.

“Obviously they are stricken by grief, and on top of that they are going through the whole motions of paperwork and legality of trying to bring her remains back,” said Larry Swint, whose wife was a longtime friend of Yang’s sister. “It’s bringing a lot of stress and turmoil.”

Swint and his wife put in a call to the offices of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in order to try to speed up the process of getting a visa once it was apparent Yang and his wife needed to come to America following the attack.

On Oct. 20, Yang’s sister was walking near the corner of Parsons Boulevard and 41st Avenue when she was brutally attacked and robbed, according to police. The injuries sustained to her head left her brain dead, and she later died at North Shore-LIJ in Long Island, according to Ackerman.

The NYPD arrested Brian Rodriguez, 35, of Long Island, and charged him with the crime.

Yang’s sister had been in the country on vacation and had arrived three weeks before she was mugged, according to the congressman.

“This terrible and senseless loss of life is a horrible tragedy and we extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s friends and loved ones,” Ackerman said in a statement. “We will continue to assist them in any way we can.”

Ackerman helped obtain the visa by contacting the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China, and arranging for Yang’s paperwork to be expedited.

Both he and his sister are from Guangdong Province.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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