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Police apologise for missing racist attack


Police in Edinburgh yesterday apologised for failing to investigate a fatal attack by white youths on a Chinese takeaway worker as a racist killing.

The admission follows a dogged two-year campaign by the family of Simon San, who died after his vehicle was set upon and he was punched to the ground as he attempted to flee the gang in the Scottish capital. He suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding and died the following day in hospital. A judge described the youths as acting "like pack animals".

Lothian and Borders Police admitted ignoring Mr San's family's insistence that he was the victim of racism, with a senior officer telling the media that the young father had simply been in the "wrong place at the wrong time".

The family told police they had been subjected to race hatred in the past in the Lochend area close to their takeaway business.

An internal investigation into the inquiry found that one of the attackers was a known racist and two had been involved in an incident in which the victim was a Chinese shopkeeper.

The attack comes amid a steep rise in the number of racist attacks in Scotland, with 6,171 incidents recorded by police in 2009-10 – up a fifth on the previous year. Mr San, 40, was the youngest of six children. His family fled Vietnam in the 1970s and he had been the carer for his elderly parents since leaving school. His father, Trieu Seng San, said the family would never recover from his death.

In April, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh reduced the sentences of Michael Roberts and Keir Rodger, both 16, to 26 months and 24 months for their role in the attack.

John Reid, also 16, who delivered the fatal blow, was earlier ordered to be detained for five years after admitting culpable homicide.