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Kitchen in chaos

Naomi Havlen

It was Xi versus Li at Asie Tuesday night when two chefs at the Aspen restaurant were arrested after a fight in the kitchen.Kouling Xi, 28, and Shenggui Li, 47, face assault charges after Xi allegedly struck Li, and Li allegedly countered by drawing a knife and cutting Xi’s arm. Li was charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and his bond was set at $2,500. Xi was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Both men were treated and released by Aspen Valley Hospital; Xi received staples and stitches for a laceration on his arm, according to a police report.Although dinner service may have been interrupted for a brief period because of the incident, the restaurant’s manager did not want to comment further on the altercation.According to a police report, officers were called to Aspen Valley Hospital at 7:30 p.m. to respond to an assault “with major cuts” that had occurred in an Aspen restaurant. (Since both of the suspects speak Chinese, a restaurant employees was there to translate for doctors and officers.)Xi told police the altercation began when Li was accessing the refrigerator near Xi, and the door struck Xi in the knee. Xi said he asked Li to be careful, and Li said “Why be careful?” instigating the argument.Xi told police that after he said “F— you” to Li and gestured at him with his middle finger, Li struck him in the arm with a paint scraper. Xi said he picked up a ladle and struck Li in the left arm, which prompted Li to pick up a kitchen knife and brandish it at Xi, eventually cutting him.In Li’s version of the incident, he does not say “Why be careful?” to his coworker, but Xi says “F— you,” and later punches Li in the face. Li also claims he tried to hit Xi back but missed, and Xi picked up hot oil in a ladle and threatened to throw it at Li.Li told police he did cut Xi’s arm with a knife, but only after Xi hit him on the arm with the ladle.According to a witness at the restaurant, Li had been holding a large knife and threatening Xi. Although Li was initially grabbed and controlled by employees, the witness told police Li grabbed a second knife and cut Xi.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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