Exchange Student attacked by gang of youths in Canterbury

A 17-year old German exchange student was airlifted to a London hospital after being severely injured in an attack on Thursday 6 June in the Whitefriars shopping district.

The victim is believed to be in a coma, and is due to undergo specialist surgery. The victim was also allegedly targeted because of his Lebanese descent.

Police were called to the city centre at 6pm on Thursday after reports that a teenage boy had been assaulted and on the same day, 6 arrests were made in connection with the assault: a 16-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, two 14-year-old boys, from Canterbury, and a 17-year-old boy from Margate.

A 44-year-old of no fixed address was also arrested on suspicion of having assisted an attacker after the assault.

They are all currently released on bail.

More recently, another 17-year old boy has been arrested and remains in custody.

The victim’s parents, who live in Germany but are not EU citizens, sought an emergency visa to visit their son but were told by British officials that they would have to wait five days.

However, Rosie Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, reached out directly to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, to ask him to expedite the process.

The Home Secretary was able to obtain an emergency visa for the family, and the victim’s mother arrived in the UK three days after the attack.

Duffield said: ‘We are appalled by this vicious attack. We want to make it clear that Canterbury is open to visitors and that we respect and admire other nations. We are so upset about this attack and want to offer as much support as we can to the victim’s family. Following an attack of this kind, we want to focus on what we have in common, rather than on the politics of division.

A lecturer at the University of Kent has arranged an anti-racism march in response to the attack. The protest will take place on Wednesday 12th June, starting at Westgate Towers.

Union President, Aaron Thompson, encouraged students to “show solidarity, and march against racism in all of its facets.”

He added that, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind and we will not stand for it.”

Police have urged any witnesses to the attack to call 01843 222 289, quoting reference 46/108995/19. Alternatively, witnesses can call Crimestoppers in Kent, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.