Coronavirus racist attack: Police release images of men wanted over student punched in the face

'I don't want your coronavirus in my country,' attacker told victim during Oxford Street assault 

Two of the four men police want to speak to over a racially-aggravated attack in Oxford Street on 24 February
Two of the four men police want to speak to over a racially-aggravated attack in Oxford Street on 24 February

Police have released images of four men wanted over a racist attack on a student who was allegedly beaten by attackers shouting about coronavirus.

Jonathan Mok said he was walking along Oxford Street in central London on 24 February when he heard shouts of “coronavirus”.

The 23-year-old student, from Singapore, described being set upon by a group of four or five men and a woman.

As he turned to face them, one man said “don't you dare look at me”, before launching an attack.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Mok said passers-by tried to intervene as he was punched and kicked.

He added: “The guy who tried to kick me then said, 'I don't want your coronavirus in my country', before swinging another sucker punch at me, which resulted in my face exploding with blood from my nose, where the blood was splattered all across the pavement.”

Police said Mr Mok, who has been living in London for two years, was punched, kicked, and sustained facial injuries.

The student said he was told he suffered fractures and may need surgery, adding: “Racists constantly find excuses to expound their hatred - and in this current backdrop of the coronavirus, they've found yet another excuse.”

The attack was one of several alleged hate crimes linked to coronavirus in recent weeks, although the National Police Chiefs' Council has said levels have remained steady and there was no obvious rise linked to the health emergency.

Tax consultant Pawat Silawattakun, 24, was left with a broken nose when he was punched in the face and robbed in Fulham, west London, by teenagers who shouted “coronavirus”.

Trainee lawyer Meera Solanki, 29, was punched unconscious after stepping in to defend her friend from a group of men hurling racist abuse about the illness in a Birmingham bar.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at around 9.15pm on 24 February to Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road station, to reports of the assault.

Two of the four men police want to speak to over a racially-aggravated attack in Oxford Street on 24 February

Detective Sergeant Emma Kirby said: “This attack left the victim shaken and hurt. There’s no room on our streets for this kind of violent behaviour and we are committed to finding the perpetrators.

“I am keen to speak to anyone who has information about this assault. I would like to identify and speak to the four men pictured who may be able to help me with our enquiries.”

There have been no arrests. Any witnesses are asked to call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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