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Singaporean student in London says he was assaulted after reacting to Covid-19 comments

SINGAPORE — A Singaporean student in London said he was assaulted after he reacted to passers-by who were making comments about his race and Covid-19.

Mr Jonathan Mok uploaded photos of his bruised face on Facebook.

Mr Jonathan Mok uploaded photos of his bruised face on Facebook.

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SINGAPORE — A Singaporean student in London said he was assaulted after he reacted to passers-by who were making comments about his race and Covid-19. 

Mr Jonathan Mok, 23, said that he was walking along Oxford Street in London on Feb 24 when he heard a racist comment and the word "coronavirus" from some youths.

Mr Mok then turned to look at them, because he did not want them to think he was afraid and that "Asians are easily bullied".

"I felt really angry... It is ridiculous people are being targeted for being Asian," he told CNA on Tuesday (March 3).

Mr Mok has lived in London for two years while studying at University College London, but travels back to Singapore during his summer holidays. 


After he looked at them, Mr Mok said that one of the youths shouted: "Don’t you dare look at me, you…". He did not catch the last word because of the man’s accent. 

The group, comprising three or four young men and a woman, then approached him, Mr Mok said, adding that they "seemed no older than 20 years old, but were all more than a head taller than me". 

Suddenly, he was punched in the face twice, he said, and another attacker attempted to kick him as he tried to explain what was happening to another passer-by. 

The man who tried to kick him then said, “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country,” before punching him again, Mr Mok said. His nose started bleeding and blood was splattered all across the pavement, he added. 

The group left the scene before the police arrived. Immediately after the assault, Mr Mok said that he focused on stopping his nose from bleeding, and returned home after the police and ambulance let him go. 

He also said that he was attacked in front of a store and he has spoken to the shop owners, though the police have yet to contact them regarding surveillance camera footage. 


In response to queries from CNA, London's Metropolitan Police Service confirmed on Tuesday that they are investigating a racially aggravated assault that took place along Oxford Street at about 9.15pm on Feb 24.

The victim was punched and sustained facial injuries, they said. Investigations are ongoing to identify the suspects, including an assessment of available surveillance footage.

No arrests have been made, the police said, and asked witnesses to come forward.

The police were unable to provide CNA with data relating to the number of racially aggravated incidents connected to Covid-19. 

Mr Mok told CNA that he was angry because he knew he was outnumbered, and could not fight back because they were all taller than him and he was recovering from a broken finger in an earlier incident.

Mr Mok has heard other similar racist comments, “but nothing so overt” so far. 

“I’ve had friends who were rejected by shops in another European city because they were Chinese, where the owners simply said they don't want the coronavirus,” he added. 

Mr Mok told CNA that he is now more wary in public but tries not to allow it to affect his life. 

“I do everything as if it were normal... I'm not afraid of these people and I refuse to let them think I am afraid of them.”

In response to TODAY’s queries, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday that it is aware of the case. 

“The Singapore High Commission in London has reached out to the Singaporean student to render consular assistance. The High Commission is also in contact with the UK authorities to ensure that the incident is investigated and that the student is given the due legal process,” MFA said.


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coronavirus Covid-19 racism London assault

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