Student shares experience after being stabbed five times

Kaitlin York

Billy Tong was giving his ex-girlfriend a gift Wednesday night when an unexpected surprise came from behind his back.

He had met Liping Zhang only once or twice prior to the incident, but the two freshmen in pre-business had never had a real conversation, Tong said, adding that there had been no disagreement or fighting between Tong and Zhang to which being stabbed in the back five times with a steak knife was necessary.

“I was talking to my ex-girlfriend when he showed up from her apartment and he seemed kind of jealous,” Tong said. “He said something to me, then he started pushing me and that’s when I saw the knife in his hand.”

Panic began to take over Tong’s body as he was soon in a headlock by Zhang. At this point, he was still unharmed.

Occuring outside of building 63 of Frederiksen Court, two witnesses who were friends of Tong and his ex-girlfriend were the only ones around.

“My friends were in my car as this was happening, so there wasn’t much that they could do to prevent anything,” Tong said.

After Zhang placed Tong in a headlock, the stabbing began — harder and harder each time — Tong remembered. Eventually, Zhang took the knife to his neck, leaving a laceration, and threatened to kill him.

“I ran toward my car and hid behind it. Zhang told me that if I kept running he would damage my car,” Tong said.

With fear of his life coming to an end that night, thoughts of never seeing his family again swarmed his mind, which led to memories of hearing about murder cases throughout American colleges. His level of fear had hit a maximum. 

Zhang jumped onto Tong’s car where his friends had been. Tong later learned from his friends that the damage done to his windshield was caused by the jumping.

“He called me immediately after the case happened,” said Ben Bai, a friend of Tong. “He didn’t know what to do and was freaked out.”

Bai got to Tong around 8 p.m. that night, with everything beginning around 7:30 p.m. His advice was able to calm Tong down as he then suggested that ISU Police get involved.

Tong and some friends went to ISU Police who then immediately called for an ambulance. 

Although Hong Kong is home for Tong, he contacted his mother who resides in Ontario, Canada, after being treated at Mary Greeley Medical Center. She was shocked that this had happened to her son and thought it was best that he let the police handle it. She will be flying to Iowa on Tuesday to help him during his recovery.

“[My ex-girlfriend] was fully aware of him having the knife. He obtained it from her apartment,” Tong said, “and after I left she called me and told me not to report it to the police because Liping would be able to get out of it because of his high GPA and school officials would ‘help him’ and told me that I would be the one to get in trouble.”

Tong said his ex-girlfriend also made a phone call to the witnesses asking them to change their report to the police.

Tong has not been in contact with his ex-girlfriend since the phone call she made with her request. Zhang has made no attempt to contact Tong, either, since he was bailed out of jail Sunday morning.

“I don’t plan on talking to her because she might send other guys after me. And if I ever see him again, I will run away immediately,” Tong said. 

Falling asleep at night has been difficult for Tong — nightmares have occurred ever since. Sometimes he thinks he hears screaming in the silence of the night.

Counseling and other services have been offered by the Dean of Students Office to Tong, and his close friends are helping him get through the incident. The language barrier between Tong and the counselors makes his decision about seeking help difficult.

The stab wounds to his back were not life threatening, and Tong is still unsure if he will press charges.