Chris Kwok Testifies Before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety on March 22

On March 22, Chris Kwok testified on behalf of AABANY before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety in support of two changes to the funding of Hate Crime Units of New York District Attorneys’ Offices. These recommendations call for Hate Crime Units to be staffed with full-time prosecutors and legal support personnel, and for periodic audits by the committee to ensure their use of dedicated funds for hate crime prosecution. Chris shared that AABANY first voiced these recommendations in its report on anti-Asian violence. The report specifically identified the “Jade Squad”—a police division formed to combat Chinese gang violence in the 1970s— and concomitant Asian Gang Units that were formed at the District Attorney’s Office. In line with these successful historical efforts, AABANY now advocates for the creation of dedicated and fully funded hate crime divisions in law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices.

The AABANY report recounts numerous instances of assault and harassment against Asian Americans in New York over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chris highlighted the persistence of such racially fueled attacks to this day. Chris also noted that media outlets, community leaders, and politicians have since backed AABANY’s proposals to fully fund and formally staff anti-hate-crime initiatives. Among these supporters, Chris identified the inspector of the NYPD Task Force and New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. In the face of unrelenting anti-Asian violence throughout the state, Chris explained that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and District Attorneys’ Office Hate Crime Units require dedicated funding and full-time personnel to improve their reporting structures. Only with such resources can anti-hate-crime initiatives produce reports that adequately detail the efforts of law enforcement to stem anti-Asian violence. The statement concluded with Chris’s message that fully funded and full-time Hate Crime Units are critical to encouraging the continued reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes and to fostering greater trust within the Asian American community. To read Chris’s written statement, submitted with his testimony, click here.

AABANY Congratulates Brian Lee on his New Position as Deputy Executive ADA for General Litigation

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Brian Lee, founding member and former Co-Chair of the Prosecutors’ Committee, on being promoted to Deputy Executive ADA for General Litigation at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. He is the first Korean-American Executive-level Assistant District Attorney in New York State. In his new role, Brian will oversee the office’s general litigation division.

Brian is a graduate of State University of New York at Albany and Pace University School of Law. His previous positions include serving as the Chief of both District Court Trial Bureau and County Court Trial Bureau, and working at the Queens Criminal Court, Intake, Appeals, Narcotic Trials, and Domestic Violence Bureaus.

Please see the announcement below released by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for more information on Deputy Executive ADA Brian Lee:

Press Release: Asian American Bar Association of New York Applauds Promotion of James S. Lin to Bureau Chief of the Green Zone In Kings County District Attorney’s Office

February 11, 2019

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(212) 332-2478

NEW YORK – February 11, 2019 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) congratulates James S. Lin on his recent promotion from Supreme Court Deputy for the Green Trial Zone to the position of Bureau Chief of the Green Zone in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. We believe James is the second Asian Pacific American to serve as Bureau Chief at a major trial bureau in a prosecutors’ office in New York City.

In his former role as Supreme Court Deputy for the Green Trial Zone, he was responsible for overseeing felony trials and acted as DNA point person. He demonstrated a commitment to the principles of justice and the office’s intention to reduce incarcerations by focusing on the serious drivers of crime. Prior to that, James served as Deputy Bureau Chief for the Supreme Court in the Grey Zone, where he worked tirelessly on building relationships between his office and the community, by serving as one of several informal office ambassadors to Brooklyn’s growing Asian American community, as well as attending Precinct Council meetings, National Night Out Against Crime, and the West Indian Day Parade. He also fought to secure justice for victims of crimes in several significant cases, by supervising the investigation and grand jury presentations.

Before that, James served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. While there, he tried numerous cases to verdict, including homicides. He also held a number of supervisory positions, overseeing prosecutors handling misdemeanor and domestic violence cases. In addition, he honed his investigative skills as a member of the Asian Gang Unit and the Investigation Division Central Bureau investigating white collar crimes. With more than 28 years of public service in the prosecutors’ offices of New York City, James is an exemplar of an individual committed to justice and public service.

Outside of prosecution, James has also been an active member of the New York State Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure, which makes legislative recommendations to the Chief Administrative Judge of New York State. In addition, he also participates as a trainer and lecturer in the office’s New NYPD Officer Training program.

James helped found and is currently a co-chair of AABANY’s Prosecutors’ Committee, which has grown to be one of AABANY’s most active and vibrant committees. He also served as a member of AABANY’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2015.

“James Lin’s dedication to public service and his record of leadership is well-known and appreciated by all of us at AABANY,” states AABANY President James Cho. “We commend the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for elevating him to the position of Bureau Chief in the Green Zone. We are proud of James’s achievements and expect that he will continue to serve the public and the community in his new role. We wish him every success in his future endeavors.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Additional information about AABANY is available at

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