Exclusive: Korean UCA student assaulted in racially motivated attack in London
A University for the Creative Arts (UCA) student was physically assaulted in central London by a group of teenagers on Sunday 11 November.
The police are claiming the incident was a racially motivated hate crime.
Mary, 22, from South Korea was walking down Oxford Street around 5:40pm on Remembrance Sunday when she realised a pack of 'mixed white and black' teenagers were following her and throwing rubbish at her.
She turned around and told them to stop. The group then approached closer to her commenting: 'Oh you speak English?'
They continued throwing rubbish, now at her face. She then retialited by throwing some of the rubbish back.
Then suddenly the group struck her down to the ground and started attacking her in middle of Oxford Street.
The attack carried on for 6-7 minutes, she said, and the group was punching and kicking her as she fell down outside a Marks and Spencer.
She was screaming and shouting at them to stop, but the group consisting of both male and female teenagers, carried on assaulting her.
A friend of hers who was at the spot testifies that people were forming a circle watching and filming the scene, but no one was attempting to stop the teenagers.
Two of the pedestrians finally stepped in, but Mary says the suspects 'pretended to run away but they came back, followed me, and attacked me for the second time'.
When the group finally decided to terminate the attack and run away, Mary called the police. She waited for an hour, but the police didn’t show up.
'Completely shocked, devastated, and broken', she came back to Canterbury the same night. She told me that she was feeling 'helpless'.
She has written about the incident and how prevalent racist attacks are levelled through her Facebook.
The post attracted over 28,000 likes, and the attack was featured on the headlines of the South Korean news.
She has also started a petition to raise awareness of hate crimes in London, which has recieved over 28,000 signatures.
This has prompted the South Korean embassy to step in and press the police for a speedier investigation.
'I don’t know what to feel about living and studying in this country to be honest,' Mary says.
'I often thought about working here even after graduation because I enjoyed every minute of living in the UK, but I have now completely lost faith in this country. I still cannot believe this kind of incident has happened to me in the centre of London.'
Mary was given a swollen jaw, bumps on her head and some painful cuts from the incident. She has also been suffering from panic attacks since the assault.
'Considering the characteristics of the incident—a hate crime towards a young female Asian student in central London—I am surprised by the lack of support given by the authorities. The police, the embassy, and the hospital were all quite useless until I had repeatedly explained the incident and urged for further help.'
The Metropolitan Police are currently attempting to obtain the CCTV footage of the night, but are struggling to find one that captures the full account of the incident.
'If there is no clear video footage that shows the incident and the faces of suspect clearly, then I’m afraid that there is a possibility that we might have to close the case,” said met police officer in charge of the investigation.
'However, we are trying our best to find the CCTV footage and resolve this horrible hate crime that’s happened to Mary', added the police.
If anyone holds video footage of the evening of Oxford Street outside the Marks and Spencer’s on the 11th of November, please send it to the London police or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are affected by any sort of racial discrimination or hate crime, call 080816 89111 for victim support, or visit wellbeing centre on campus located in Keynes College.