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LAPD: Pinkberry Co-Founder Pleads Not Guilty to Beating Homeless Man

The co-founder of Pinkberry pleaded not guilty today to attacking a homeless man with a tire iron along the Hollywood (101) Freeway.

Young Lee, a 47-year-old boxer-turned-architect, was arrested Jan. 17 at Los Angeles International Airport by detectives with the LAPD’s Fugitive Warrants Task Force, who were tasked with tracking him down in connection with the June 15, 2011, beating.

At Lee’s arraignment today on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, a judge modified the terms of his $60,000 bail so he can make a trip to his native Korea later this month. Lee agreed to surrender his passport when he returns to court March 5 for a preliminary hearing-setting.

Prosecutors allege Lee and a companion got out of the car he was driving on Vermont Avenue near the Hollywood Freeway offramp and confronted the homeless man, who was asking motorists for money, because Lee thought the transient had disrespected him by exposing a sexually explicit tattoo.

Lee allegedly used a tire iron to beat the man, who suffered a broken left forearm and several cuts to his head, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Witnesses provided police with the license plate of the vehicle, a Range Rover, which, police said, was rented in Lee’s name. A tire iron was seized from the vehicle, according to police.

Lee faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. He founded the Pinkberry yogurt chain in 2005 with Hyekyung “Shelly” Hwang, also of Korea.

Copyright © 2012 City News Service

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