One of the two women now in police custody in connection with the highly publicized March 7 assault on an Uber driver in San Francisco was actually arrested for an alleged bank fraud scheme in Nevada in the days following the Uber incident.
24-year-old Malaysia King was arrested in Las Vegas last week right around the time that the SFPD Robbery Unit suggested arrests may be made in the Uber case. But, as KPIX now reports, her arrest came after she and an accomplice, identified as David Lewis, were allegedly attempting to illegally gain access to a bank account and transfer funds to themselves. The pair were arrested at a Bank of American branch near Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 9, after workers at the bank suspected that they were using a fake ID and bank card to try to withdraw funds from an account that did not belong to them.
Lewis reportedly told authorities that he had been coached by King in what to say to the bank tellers.
King has been identified as the partially masked woman seated on the left side of the vehicle in the widely seen video taken by driver Subhakar Khadka. Khadka says that when the three women exited his car, King sprayed pepper spray into his car through a partly open passenger-side window — and thus she was charged with assault with a caustic chemical, assault and battery conspiracy, and violation of health and safety code.
The maskless woman who appears to have instigated the conflict with Khadka, and who is seen on the video coughing on him and briefly snatching a cellphone from his dashboard, has been identified as 24-year-old Arna Kimiai — an earlier SFist report had confused the women in part because Kimiai's social media connected her to Las Vegas. Kimiai, who was apparently still in the Bay Area last week, said through an attorney last Thursday that she would be turning herself in to SF police, and KPIX reports that she did so on Sunday. She is now free on a $75,000 bond pending her next court appearance, and she faces charges of robbery, assault and battery, conspiracy, violation of health and safety code, and other charges.
King reportedly said during a brief court appearance Sunday or Monday that she would return to San Francisco to face charges here.
Kimiai's attorney, Seth Morris, gave a statement to the Chronicle about her surrender to the SFPD, saying, "We coordinated her surrender with Sgt. Tony Santos of SFPD so it could be handled peacefully and expeditiously. Ms. Kimiai acted appropriately and responsibly when she found out she had a warrant for her arrest, coordinating her peaceful surrender through her legal counsel and the San Francisco Police Department."
Kimiai's Instagram account was taken offline last Thursday after she ill-advisedly posted videos of herself — subsequently shared on Twitter — talking about the incident, justifying it, and half-heartedly taking some blame for her treatment of Khadka. She said that he selectively shared a portion of the video that excluded the part where he was refusing to take the women any further and that they were upset because they didn't want to be let off in what they perceived as a dangerous neighborhood.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe fundraiser for Khadka has raised nearly $100,000. The fundraiser was launched by local investor Cyan Bannister — an early investor in Uber who was recently on the news discussing a burglary at her home — and Khadka posted a video of thanks on the page over the weekend. In it he says he will use the money "really wisely" for legal expenses, to pay for his son’s education, and to make his parents’ retirement "beautiful."
Khadka is an immigrant from Nepal who has lived in the Bay Area for eight years. He says, "I would like to sincerely thank everybody for all the love and support showered upon me... The love and support and encouragement from this community and people around the world has helped me to move forward and believe in humanity and justice."