A Singaporean who is studying abroad in London, has allegedly become the target of coronavirus racism and was physically assaulted by a group of young men there recently.
The student, Jonathan Mok, took to his Facebook on Tuesday (3 March) to share the incident and asked people to witnesses of this brutal attack to come forward and help identify the perpetrators.
The incident allegedly took place at about 9.15pm last Monday (24 Feb) when Mr Mok walked past a group of young men at Oxford Street in London. He was stunned when he heard one of them say the word “coronavirus”.
Mr Mok then turned around to look at them, but one of the men shouted, “Don’t you dare look at me…” before punching Mr Mok’s, his group of friends joining it.
“All of a sudden, the first punch was swung at my face and took me by surprise. When I was still shocked by the first hit, the guy delivered the second sucker punch,” Mr Mok wrote.
Mr Mok tried to react in self-defence but could not do anything substantial because of an injury to his finger. Though he did mention that a few passersby had tried to stop the scuffle and reason with the attacking group over the unfairness of a four-on-one conflict.
He said that one of the men who tried to kick him had said, “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country” then punched in his face, causing him to bleed from his nose.
After being beaten, Mr Mok was left at the scene by the attackers before the police arrived.
Following the assault, Mr Mok went to a hospital’s accident and emergency department where he was informed that he might need to undergo reconstructive surgery to fix the few fractures in his face.
Coronavirus racism emerged as a new excuse for racist
In his post, Mr Mok also mentioned that he had previously experienced several racist statements with some relating to the coronavirus.
He said that the outbreak has caused racism “to rear its ugly head” and this was shown in the videos and stories of Asian people being targeted either verbally or physically.
He wrote, “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.”
“From refusing service to a Chinese-looking person to racially-motivated hate crimes, every single one of these acts are based on racism,” he said in his post.
In response to those who ask him to ignore the racist remark, he also said, “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?”
Netizens commiserate, says racism is unacceptable
The incident of Singaporean student being brutally attacked in London has gained traction on social media as many netizens commented and shared Mr Mok’s story.
Some netizens abroad felt sorry and expressed regret over the racists assault on Mr Mok.
A netizen who is believed to be from London apologised for the incident and described the attackers’ behaviour as a “disgrace” while offering to fund the victim’s medical treatment.
A few netizens also shared their personal experiences when staying in other countries where they suffered discrimination due to being of a different race or just merely because of “fear and hate, and someone to blame”.
Other netizens slammed the racist behaviour stemming from the fears of coronavirus which they say reflected the “stupidity” and “hatefulness” of people who are afraid of the disease.
While a few netizens also opined that it was unfair for Chinese people to be treated as “carriers of coronavirus” because they are also victims in this outbreak.
Other netizens also applauded the courage of Mr Mok to speak up about the racism which is deeply entrenched.