"I don't want your coronavirus in my country," said one of the attackers. <small> Cover image via Jonathan Mok/Facebook Retail Gazette </small>
A Singaporean student said he was recently assaulted by a group of men over coronavirus-related (COVID-19) racism in London
Jonathan Mok took to Facebook this morning, 3 March, to share about his ordeal that happened last Monday, 24 February.
The 23-year-old, who has been studying in University College London (UCL) for two years, shared that it happened in the evening at about 9.15pm, when he walked past the group a young men along Oxford Street in London.
As he was walking past, one of them looked at him and said “coronavirus”
Stunned, he turned to look at who said it and found them staring at him.
One of youths then shouted, “Don’t you dare look at me, you…” and punched Mok in the face before he could react, and the rest joined in to beat him up.
“I don’t want your coronavirus in my country,” said another one of the youths who punched him again in the face, which caused his nose to bleed and splatter blood all over the pavement.
Mok said there were three to four of them who ganged up on him, including a girl. He described that the assaulters looked like they were in their 20s and all of them were a head taller than him.
He added that he did not fight back and tried to explain to passers-by that he had not done anything wrong. A few tried to help and reason with the attackers but were ignored.
Unfortunately, the group escaped before the police arrived.
<a href="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767585/5d69.jpg" rel="segment-310601 noopener noreferrer" target="" title="Mok's face on the day of the assault, he clarified that this picture is flipped and he has a bruise on his left eye."> <img alt="Mok's face on the day of the assault, he clarified that this picture is flipped and he has a bruise on his left eye." src="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767585/5d69.jpg"></img></a> Mok's face on the day of the assault, he clarified that this picture is flipped and he has a bruise on his left eye. <small>Image via Jonathan Mok/Facebook</small>
Immediately after the attack, Mok went to an emergency department where he was told that he suffered a few fractures in his face and might need reconstructive surgery
In the Facebook post, Mok called on eye witnesses to come forward with more information or video evidence of the incident to identify the perpetrators.
Addressing people who asked why he did not fight back, or why he even looked back at them when he heard the racist remark, he wrote, “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?”
“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,” he wrote in the post that has since garnered over 27,000 reactions and 18,000 shares.
He has also reported the incident to London’s Metropolitan Police Service who, according to CNA, are investigating the case and have not made any arrests.
The COVID-19 outbreak has spurred more than just health fears, but also xenophobic sentiments around the world:
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