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A student was attacked on Oxford Street and the police allegedly didn't show up


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Last week, an international student was violently attacked in London.

Mary, a South Korean studying in Canterbury was walking down Oxford Street when a group of youths started throwing rubbish at her.

When she asked them to stop, a black girl who was part of the group allegedly commented "Oh, you speak English?" and continued to throw the rubbish.

Mary then decided to throw the rubbish back, the black girl allegedly pushed her to the ground and the group began to punch and kick her. 

The student and her friend were unable to stop the attack, but two strangers intervened.

The group pretended to leave but followed the victim and her friend and continued their assault. Yeon Jeong, who is 5 feet 2 inches tall by her own description, described a "white guy" around 6 feet tall punching her in the head, nearly causing her to lose consciousness.

The attackers eventually fled and the attack was subsequently reported to the police.

According to Mary, the police allegedly did not arrive at the scene and later sent her a letter advising that she see a therapist. Mary claims in a statement that the South Korean Embassy was unable to assist her as "stepping into 'civil affairs' would be out of their jurisdiction" and getting permission to view the CCTV footage from nearby shops would take months.

According to her statement, the attack left her with bumps on her head, a swollen chin, panic attacks and vomiting. She ended up in A&E.

She has now started a petition calling on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to raise awareness of the hate crime that occurred in Oxford Street and for police to arrive on time and catch the perpetrators of the incident.

The petition already has nearly 15,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for the NUS confirmed that the incident had taken place, saying:

"The student has reported to the police, their university and [their student union].

"It has been confirmed that the Advice & Support team at [their university] are also in contact with the student in relation to the incident."

NUS International Students’ Officer Yinbo Yu said:

Nobody should have to experience harassment and hate crime anywhere in our society. International students travel to the UK to study, experience everything the UK has to offer and contribute enormously back to our communities economically and socially. It is utterly appalling that Mary has been physically attacked and made to feel unsafe in this way.

Sadly racist incidents are not uncommon and students of colour across the country are faced with abuse either on their campuses or in their communities. There is much to be done to make our institutions, towns and cities truly inclusive and welcoming spaces. We must take this opportunity to ensure more students’ unions become third party hate crime reporting centres and increase our efforts to bring about the change that is so desperately required.”

The President of Mary's student union also responded to the incident, saying:

“I was saddened and disturbed to hear of the racist violence one of our students, Mary, was victim to earlier this week. We are offering the student practical support at this time, and also want to express solidarity with this student and any other person who is subjected to oppressive violence.

"This incident is an alarming example of the dangers that face people of colour in Britain today - I hope that Mary's petition for greater awareness of hate crime in London gains even wider support than it already has, and helps to make change that is so urgently needed.”

The university has been made aware of the assault. 

*Names have been changed to protect the victim's identity

Featured image courtesy of Lewis Clarke and Mary

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