Teenager, 15, shouted at Singapore law student ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’

A 15-year-old was today convicted of shouting ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’ to a Singapore law student before punching him in the face during a random racist street attack. 

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm for the attack on February 24 this year.  

UCL law student Jonathan Mok, 24, said the boy told him, ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’, before punching him in the face in an unprovoked attack outside a souvenir shop on Oxford Street, central London.

The teen is said to have kicked him and punched him twice. 

Another youth is said to have begun the confrontation by barging into the student and saying ‘coronavirus’ in his ear, starting an argument, and punching him twice.

UCL law student Jonathan Mok (pictured after the attack), 24, said the boy told him, ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’, before punching him in the face in an unprovoked attack outside a souvenir shop on Oxford Street, central London

The defendant admitted assault, but had denied it was racially motivated.

At the trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, he claimed he could not have made the comments as he thought Covid-19 was ‘b******s’ until his grandfather died of the virus around six weeks after the incident.

Magistrates were shown CCTV from the Gifts of London shop which displayed aspects of the attack at 9.15pm on February 24 this year.

Other nearby witnesses heard ‘I don’t want your diseases’ and ‘You’re diseased. Don’t come near me.’

Following the assault, an anti-racism Facebook post by Mr Mok went viral with over several thousand shares and covered by national and international media.

Mr Mok, who gave live evidence via videolink from Singapore, said at a previous hearing: ‘My interpretation was that he believed I was the one that brought coronavirus to this country or at least people that look like me.

Another youth is said to have begun the confrontation by barging into the student (pictured after the attack) and saying 'coronavirus' in his ear, starting an argument, and punching him twice

Another youth is said to have begun the confrontation by barging into the student (pictured after the attack) and saying ‘coronavirus’ in his ear, starting an argument, and punching him twice

‘I was quite shocked because I never expected to face this kind of incident or the kind of comments. I had never heard these kinds of comments while studying in London so I was quite shocked to hear it.’

The law student also posted pictures of his bloodied nose and swelling and bruising to his face and eye following the attack.

Magistrate chair Lesley Ward, in the bench’s ruling, said: ‘We heard from Mr Mok and found his evidence to be clear, cogent and consistent.

‘He was walking on Oxford Street when a group of white males attacked him. One bumped into him, and that led to an altercation and Mr Mok was punched unprovoked.

‘He admits he was angry and squared up to the attacker. A second man, who later turned out to be [the defendant], got involved in the altercation.’ 

Ms Ward added: ‘Apart from Mr Mok, there were several independent witnesses who were standing three to five metres away. 

At the trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, the attacker claimed he could not have made the comments as he thought Covid-19 was 'b******s' until his grandfather died of the virus around six weeks after the incident

At the trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, the attacker claimed he could not have made the comments as he thought Covid-19 was ‘b******s’ until his grandfather died of the virus around six weeks after the incident

‘We do not believe [the defendant’s] version of the events. He was in full knowledge of the racial aspect and the attack was fuelled by those words.

‘We can be sure beyond reasonable doubt that it was racially motivated and therefore we find you guilty.’

Considering sentencing, she said: ‘As an adult, it would be a custodial sentence.

‘You are only 15 and you are of previous good character. We give you great credit for your early guilty plea and that you handed yourself into the police station.

‘We would like you to talk to the [Youth Offending Team] and for a report to be completed so the sentencing is appropriate’.

The teenager, who was accompanied by his mother today, will be sentenced on January 27 at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court.

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