Student attacked in ‘racially aggravated’ assault on Oxford Street
An international student was attacked and physically assaulted by a group of strangers in Oxford Street on 11th November. She accused the authorities concerned of failing to take adequate action, over what she believes was a racially aggravated assault.
The student, who studies in Canterbury and was visiting London, has preferred to remain anonymous.
She was walking down Oxford Street with her friend at 5:50pm when someone started throwing pieces of rubbish at her. She then noticed a group of what she believed to be around ten teenagers following her.
The harassment continued for a while before she decided to confront them directly. The group then started physically assaulting her all the while shouting racial slurs. The student recalls being kicked to the ground and repeatedly punched on her head.
Even after calling out for help, only two strangers came down to try and stop the assault. The student comments, “This was Sunday evening in the central London area. Out of all the people walking by, it was only two people who were trying to help me out and the rest would just be filming the scene. The group had beaten me up for around six-seven minutes and they ran away towards the McDonalds.”
The student immediately filed a case to the police over phone but did not receive any concrete response from them. The student told LS, “When I called the police, they kept saying that they would come in a couple minutes, but no one ever showed up.” The police kept on repeating that they would “look into the estimated arrival time” and “call [her] back.”
After receiving no help from the police, the student contacted the Korean embassy but was faced with a similar response. The Embassy said that stepping into ‘civil affairs’ would be out of their jurisdiction.
The student believes that there is some CCTV footage of the assault captured by a camera outside one of the shops on Oxford Street. Authorities, however, have not taken any steps in trying to recover it.
On talking to her university about the assault, the student says, “I reported the assault to the head tutor of the international student department at my university, telling them about how the police had not been supportive. The tutor said that the university could not do anything to interfere in the police investigation. They just offered counselling services and sent me a present.”
The student has gotten support online after posting her story on Facebook. She has also started an online petition to raise awareness around hate crimes in London and to call out the inaction on the part of the police.
The prospect of a safe and accepting environment in London attracts many international students. This means that the possibility of London becoming more hostile than before for its international students is a concern than universities must address.