A group of people were recently arrested after physically attacking four Chinese students in Southampton on March 17.
The victims, three Chinese men and one woman, are reportedly all in their early 20s. The students were outside the student accommodation on Vincent’s Walk at around 8 p.m. when they were assaulted and verbally abused by two teen girls and three young boys, reports the Daily Echo.
In the videos captured by witnesses, the group can be seen shouting and spitting at the victims who were wearing medical face masks.
One of the perpetrators is also captured throwing a large piece of wood towards them.
According to the authorities, the victims did not suffer any lasting physical injuries.
The incident is being treated as a “racially aggravated attack” linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It is reported the incident was linked to the coronavirus,”
a spokeswoman for Hampshire Police was quoted as saying
. “Any crime perpetuated through ignorance, prejudice or hate is unacceptable.”
Last week, police arrested the two girls, aged 14 and 15, on suspicion of affray. Meanwhile, the three boys, aged 11, 12 and 13, were arrested this week also on suspicion of affray, BBC reports.
The teenagers were released on bail while the two other boys were released pending further inquiries.
There has been a spate of racially-aggravated abuse against people of Chinese or East Asian descent since the new coronavirus began spreading globally.