CHINATOWN — The elderly woman gunned down in an an execution-style murder in Chinatown last month is trying to help police find her killer from beyond the grave, her daughter said at an emotional funeral Thursday.
The daughter of Xiao Ling Li, 70, who police believe was an innocent bystander caught up in a gangland-style killing meant to take down the woman she worked for, said she believes her mother is doing everything possible to get justice.
"[I] believe my mother will help from the grave," said Xu Yin, 40, who flew from China to be present at her mother's funeral at the Ng Fook funeral home on Mulberry Street. "My mother knows [who did this]."
Two plainclothes detectives from the Fifth Precinct turned up at Thursday's memorial for Li, pulling visitors aside in the foyer to ask them one by one for information about the women whose bodies were found in a Henry Street apartment on June 29.
Li and Yong Hua Chen, 36, were found shot in the head at 83 Henry Street, after firefighters responded to a blaze believed to have been set to cover up the murders, police said.
Li's 80-year-old husband, Peter Mack, stood by his wife's casket as mourners holding incense paid their condolences.
"I have trouble sleeping," Mack said through a translator. He and Li's daughter thanked the media for telling the victim's story.
Police believe Li was an innocent bystander at the time of the murder, which may have targeted Chen, for whom she worked as a babysitter and cook.
Law enforcement officials yanked Song Fei Li, who is an alleged gangster, off a Hong Kong-bound flight Monday, moments before takeoff. He is now being questioned for the murder.
The alleged killer, who sources said is a driver for a car service in Chinatown, was arraigned late Monday on a host of unrelated charges — including criminal contempt and intimidating a witness — after allegedly slashing the tires of a fellow driver in Brooklyn in February and threatening to kill him if he testified against him, according to court documents.
The funeral was paid for with donations given by the Lin Sing Association, according to association advisor Eddie Chiu.
Xiao Ling Li had been a member of the Chinatown-based association, which offers advocacy services for immigrants.
"She never let the family worry about her," said Li’s daughter. She had last seen her mother in March after Li went back to her native Canton Province to visit family.
"All the family back in China thought she was living a happy life," Yin added, through a translator, adding that Li enrolled in English classes and computer lessons in an attempt to make a new life in the United States.