Thom Pham Attacked Outside of Azia

The Strib reports Temple/Azia owner Thom Pham was jumped by a group of dudes outside of Azia on 26th and Nicollet when he was leaving work around four A.M. Tuesday morning. I just got off the phone with his assistant/best friend Liz G., and evidently, he’s pretty fucked up: broken eye socket, concussion, gashes and bruises on his face. Liz said he was getting into his car when he was hit in the head with a brick. He managed to get away down an alley, and then one of the thugs hit him from behind with a 2×4. Somehow, he made it back to Nicollet, at which point, the perps dipped.

I did a story on Thom for MSP last spring, during which Thom told me that as an Ameriasian living in Vietnam after the war he’d been, alternately, covered in honey and tossed on an ant-hill, beaten, and thrown in a well. So he’s survived worse. But what’s especially troubling about this incident is that the gang of men didn’t steal anything from Thom–neither money nor his car (it was left with the keys in its door). My story was one of many that dealt with Thom’s sexuality–he’s an openly gay man. Liz told me that last month, somebody keyed “Fag” into the door of his Mercedes. So did the attackers target him because he was alone on the street at four in the morning? Or did they target him because he was a high profile homosexual alone on the street at four in the morning?

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Thom. He’s feeling better, up and around after being released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. But he’s got a big gash in his forehead and his face is swollen from the beating, so he won’t be seen around Azia or Temple for awhile. Thom told me the attack seemed premeditated. There was a Chevy SUV parked in the Azia parking lot on 25th and Nicollet that the first group of attackers may have been driving. Thom described the first three men that jumped him as white, or at least light-skinned, well built, and in their late-twenties or early-thirties. When Thom fled the first three, another group of men, this time five or six of them, jumped out of a minivan on Nicollet and gave chase. “But by this point, I was bleeding and covering my face with my hand, so I didn’t see much,” he said.

It was a creepy scene. “None of them said a word the whole time,” he said. “They didn’t seem angry like you would normally be in a fight. I’d never seen anything like it. I kept asking them what they wanted, but they didn’t say anything. They were there to kill me. I thought I was going to die.”

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8 Responses

  1. […] Steve Marsh has some details on local restaurateur Thom Pham’s attack: …broken eye socket, concussion, gashes and bruises on his face. […] …he was getting into his car when he was hit in the head with a brick. He managed to get away down an alley, and then one of the thugs hit him from behind with a 2×4. […]

  2. That’s f*$#ed up!

    Any word on whether it was the same guys who tried stealing cognac from him awhile back?

  3. That is pretty speculative to say it was b/c he was gay. I would expect homophobic epitaphs if this were really the case. This is a terrible, sad incident but do you really think it is right to try and politicize it in the gay arena already?

  4. It was just an initial theory based on the fact that the motivation wasn’t petty theft (they left his briefcase in the car and his wallet in his jacket). And per my update, the emotionless professionalism of the group doesn’t seem to fit the hate crime profile.

  5. umm, can anyone say dirty money left unpaid?? Azian mafia? I’m not sayin, I’m just…that’s all I’m sayin..

    no really, I have no idea, but it sounds a hell of a lot better than gay beat down! that’s so 90’s..

  6. If it’s a gaybashing it’s the most dispassionate one in history. Someone is angry and trying to send a message to Mr. Pham, and it’s someone he knows. It is time either for an investment in some world class personal security, or a long and possibly uncomfortable conversation with the police.

  7. I think there is a lot more to this story than is being told or let on. And I’d say it is very speculative and irresponsible to attribute it to gaybashing. Pham is up to his eyeteeth in risky dealing. Mr. Marsh, you need to do much better reporting and investiagting before you blog about carelessly. Where there is smoke, you’ll find fire.

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