London

Coronavirus: Men wanted over racist Oxford Street attack on student

Suspects sought after 'racist coronavirus attack' Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Det Supt Emma Kirby said she wants to identify the men in the CCTV pictures

Images of three suspects have been released after a racist attack on a student who was told "we don't want your coronavirus in our country".

Jonathan Mok, 23, said he was walking down Oxford Street on 24 February when a group of four men began shouting.

Mr Mok, from Singapore, said the group beat him up when he confronted them.

Det Sgt Emma Kirby said the attack was being treated as racially aggravated and the Met was "committed to finding the perpetrators".

University College London student Mr Mok said he was attacked at about 21:15 GMT close to Tottenham Court Road.

Images of his bruised eye posted on Facebook have been shared thousands of times.

Image copyright Jonathan Mok
Image caption Jonathan Mok posted a selfie and another photo of his injuries on Facebook

Describing the attack, Mr Mok said the man who kicked him "was really angry".

"He shouted: 'I don't want your coronavirus in my country'," Mr Mok told the BBC.

The 23-year-old said one of the men threw a punch, causing his nose to bleed badly.

"I just could not understand why someone would target another person simply because of their skin colour - it simply does not make sense to me," he said.

"I had an X-ray scan and the doctor told me there was a broken bone around the right side of my face and that I will need to see a specialist.

"It is possible I will need an operation."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Police said the attack happened on Oxford Street near to Tottenham Court Road Tube station

Mr Mok said he felt the coronavirus outbreak has been used by some as an excuse to "further hatred for people different from them".

"I just think it's a pity to have such experiences taint the image of this beautiful city [that has] so many nice people.

"When people see Asian [people] wearing face masks they automatically assume that they are ill and I've heard of incidents of people getting shouted at on the Tube for wearing face masks.

"I've really been blind to subtle racism issues, so coming out here and experiencing it shows there is a serious problem and we need to do something about it."

Det Sgt Kirby added: "There's no room on our streets for this kind of violent behaviour and we are committed to finding the perpetrators."

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