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Homeless man charged in NY subway rider's death

By Colleen Long And Deepti Hajela

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6 2012 7:30 a.m. MST

In a written account Abbasi gave the Post, he said a crowd took videos and snapped photos on their cellphones after Han was pulled, limp, onto the platform. He said he shoved them back as a doctor and another man tried to resuscitate the victim, but Han died in front of them.

Ashley Han and her mother, Serim Han, met reporters Wednesday inside their Presbyterian church in Queens. The family came to the U.S. from Korea about 25 years ago. They said Han was unemployed and had been looking for work. Their pastor said the family was so upset by the front-page photo of Han in the Post that they had to stay with him for comfort.

"I just wish I had one last chance to tell my dad how much I love him," Ashley Han said.

Subway pushes are feared but fairly unusual. Among the more high-profile cases was the January 1999 death of Kendra Webdale, who was shoved to her death by a former mental patient.

Straphangers said they were shocked by Han's death but that it's always a silent fear for many of the more than 5.2 million commuters who ride the subway on an average weekday.

"Stuff like that you don't really think about every day. You know it could happen. So when it does happen it's scary but then what it all comes down to is you have to protect yourself," said Aliyah Syphrett, 23, who sat on a bench as she waited at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

If she saw someone fall or be pushed, "I would try to help them, and also inform them that at the end of the platform there are steps.... If you can run to the other end you can come right back up the steps. But I guess at that moment you're panicked."

Diana Henry, 79, a Long Island resident, was waiting for a train at 34th Street. She stood as far from the platform as possible — about a dozen feet back, leaning against the wall.

"I'm always careful, but I'm even more careful after what happened," she said. "I stand back because there are so many crazies in this city that you never know."

Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik, Karen Matthews and Tom Hays contributed to this story.

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