A co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport Jan. 16 in connection with an aggravated assault on a homeless man near downtown Los Angeles last year, police said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Young Lee, 47, Jan. 17 with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, which includes the special allegation that the assault caused great bodily injury, district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He was released on $60,000 bail.
According to police records, a homeless man was begging at the off ramp of the 101 Freeway and Vermont Avenue when Lee and a companion had a dispute with the man June 15. Prosecutors said Lee and his companion got out of the vehicle and confronted the transient because Lee thought the victim had disrespected him by exposing a sexually explicit tattoo.
Lee allegedly used a tire iron to beat the victim on his head and arm, prosecutors said. The victim suffered a broken left forearm and several cuts to his head.
Detectives could not locate the homeless man for a time, but were able to get information from a number of witnesses, including the license plate of the attackers’ Range Rover which was traced to a rental in Lee’s name, police said.
An arrest warrant for Lee was filed by the district attorney’s office Dec. 28. When federal databases alerted detectives that Lee was inbound on a flight from his native Korea Jan. 16, detectives from the task force and the FBI met Lee at LAX and arrested him.
Lee, who was convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor carrying a loaded firearm in 2001, is facing up to seven years in state prison if convicted, Robison said.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 6.