An east Asian man has been violently assaulted and robbed by two teenagers who were yelling “coronavirus” at him in London.
Pawat Silawattakun, 24, was travelling home earlier this month when two teens came up behind him, ripped off his headphones, shouted abuse at him and then broke his nose.
“I’d just got off the bus at Fulham when I heard a faint sound directed at me from my left across the street,” the tax consultant from Thailand told The Guardian.
“I had these noise-canceling headphones on and took them off as these guys just shouted ‘Coronavirus! Coronavirus! Ha, ha!’ in my face while filming me.
I didn’t get a chance to say anything – ‘Please stop’, or ‘Why are you doing this?’ – when one of them snatched the headphones from my neck.”
When Silawattakun took off after them, the racial abuse quickly escalated when one of the abusers became violent.
“When I reached the traffic island he turned around and punched me to the ground. There was blood everywhere,” he said.
Police have launched an aggravated robbery investigation and are on the hunt for two males who assaulted Silawattakun on Fulton road around 5:15pm on Saturday, February 8 in Southwest London.
He sustained a broken nose and received hospital treatment.
“It’s a terrible feeling knowing that they’re still out there. It isn’t just a robbery, there’s also knowing that I’ve been targeted because of my ethnicity,” Silawattakun said.