Covid UK: Racist thug, 16, who beat up Singaporean walks free

Racist thug, 16, who shouted ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’ as he beat up Singaporean law student in London leaving him needing major surgery walks free

  • Teenager was found guilty of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm for attack
  • UCL law student Jonathan Mok, 24, was racially abused and punched in the face
  • 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has to pay victim £600 

A teenager who was convicted of shouting: ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’ as he beat up a Singaporean law student during a racist attack was today ordered to pay his victim £600. 

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, punched 24-year-old Jonathan Mok in the face during the group attack on February 24 last year.

Witnesses to the attack standing a few metres away heard the words ‘disease’ and ‘coronavirus’ used, while Mr Mok said the defendant told him: ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.’

UCL law student Mr Mok, who had been studying in London for two years at the time of the incident, required surgery on his face following the confrontation on Oxford Street, central London.

The teenager admitted wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm but denied a racially aggravated offence, claiming he had not mentioned the virus and was not racist.

However, he was found guilty of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm earlier this month following a trial at Highbury Corner Youth Court in December.

At a hearing at the same court today, chair of the bench Mervyn Mandell sentenced the teenager to an 18-month youth rehabilitation order, telling him: ‘This was an unprovoked attack for no reason other than his appearance.’

The youth was also ordered to wear an electronic tag, face a curfew order between 8pm and 7am for 10 weeks and pay £600 compensation to the victim. 

A medical report showed Mr Mok temporarily lost the ability to see out of his right eye and had to undergo surgery under general anaesthetic to repair his nose and left cheek, which included seven screws. 

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

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 limited view CCTV from the Gifts of London shop which displayed aspects of the attack at 9.15pm on February 24.

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

Following the assault, a Facebook post by Mr Mok went viral with thousands of shares and covered by national and international media. 

Reading out his victim impact statement, prosecutor Simon Maughan said: ‘This crime has taken a heavy toll on me and my family. I have repeated memories of the crime that keeps me up at night. 

He added: ‘I believe the defendant will be a threat to the community especially Singaporeans/south Asian-looking friends who continue living in the UK. 

‘The lack of remorse shown by the accused by refusing to identify the other individual who initiated the assault as well as the assaulters shows no sign of regret nor hesitation in committing this crime randomly compounds this fear. 

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

‘I am afraid that these individuals, especially those who are not identified, might be emboldened to commit similar offences in the future.

‘I believe they are a threat, in particular to those who look different from them, in the contextual backdrop of the worldwide pandemic.’

Mr Maughan said while the teenager has no convictions, he had two youth cautions involving one common assault and an assault on a police constable.

He said: ‘He was not the instigator of the attack but was quick to get involved, and he soon became the leading figure in the assault on Mr Mok.

‘You should consider the fact he has no convictions and his age of the time, being only 15.

‘For an adult, the starting point would be up to three years imprisonment with a starting range of one year and six months.

‘The court needs to consider the maturity of the offender, and a starting point could be considered half or a third of that.’ 

The teenager told magistrates that he still considered the group of males his friends. 

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

When asked if he was concerned his friends would commit another serious assault, the teenager said: ‘I won’t let them’.

Gerard Pitt, mitigating, said: ‘It was not planned, it was not part of a pattern of behaviour, he was not part of an organised group showing racial hostility.’

He added: ‘In my submission, the racial element can be attributed to his age, lack of maturity, and lack of understanding.’

Magistrate chairman Mervyn Mandell said: ‘You’re a young person. You were 15 at the time of the incident in February 2020.

‘You have no previous convictions. This was an unprovoked attack during the evening on Oxford Street on an individual for no reason other than the reason for his racial appearance.

‘We have considered the following: one, there was intent by the group by which you were part, two the impact of the individual in question, three the group action, four the humiliation on the complainant, five, the sustained incident and the hostility shown to that complainant, six, the emotional toll and stress to the complainant including the anxiety he has now suffered.

‘The complainant suffered serious damage to his right eye which required major surgery.’  

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