The Metropolitan Police in London is investigating a racially motivated assault in which a Singaporean student was beaten by a group of young people in a coronavirus-related attack.
A spokesman told The Straits Times that the “racially aggravated assault” happened in Oxford Street near Tottenham Court Road station at around 9.15pm on Feb 24.
“The victim – a 23-year-old man – was punched and sustained facial injuries,” said the spokesman.
The police did not identify the victim, but the student Jonathan Mok, who said he has been studying in London for two years, wrote about his ordeal in the wee hours of Tuesday (March 3) on his Facebook page.
He also posted two photos of himself showing a swollen eye.
He said that the attack happened in Oxford Street after he walked past a group of young people.
He turned around and looked at them after he heard one of them say “coronavirus”.
The man then shouted “Don’t you dare look at me, you…” and punched him in the face repeatedly as passers-by tried to stop the group.
Mr Mok said that another man shouted “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country” before punching him in the face again.
The group fled before the police arrived.
The police said no arrest has been made, but they are currently trying to identify the suspects through inquiries and available closed-circuit television footage.
Mr Mok said he was told at a hospital’s accident and emergency department that he had fractures on his face and might have to undergo reconstructive surgery to fix some of the bones.
“Why should anyone, simply because of the colour of their skin, be subjected to abuse, in any form, verbal or physical? Why should I keep quiet when someone makes a racist remark towards me,” he wrote in the post that has since garnered more than 3,500 reactions and 2,000 shares.
He added: “Racism is not stupidity – racism is hate. Racists constantly find excuses to expound their hatred – and in this current backdrop of the coronavirus, they’ve found yet another excuse.”
The Straits Times has contacted Mr Mok for more information.
Culled from StraitsTimes