Concerns are rising over the safety of Koreans in Australia after a series of what are claimed to be racial attacks.
In the latest incident, a 28-year-old Korean man surnamed Cho was attacked by two white Australians around midnight Sunday in Brisbane, according to Cho and the police. The two young attackers struck his head with blunt instruments, leaving him bleeding from his head and face, they said.
They first approached Cho asking for his mobile phone but started to beat him after he tried to stop them from stealing it. Cho was on his way home after finishing work at a meat processing factory in the city. The Korean national is permitted to work in Australia on a working holiday visa, according to Cho.
“I was walking and talking on the phone and two 20-something white men came to me and asked for my phone, saying they need to call their mother,” Cho was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. “I lent it while having doubts but they attempted to run away with my phone. When I tried to get my phone back, they started to attack me.“
Although he was seriously wounded, Cho fought back and the two fled in a car they had parked nearby, Cho added. He claimed that the attack was directed at Asians because the crime was committed in a neighborhood in Runcorn, southeast of Brisbane, where many Asians live.
The Australian government has expressed regrets over recent cases of violence against Koreans, Korean officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters on Monday. However, it is too difficult to conclude they were racially motivated crimes, they said.
It is the third case of violence against a Korean in Australia in less than two months.
More than 10 local teenagers attacked a 33-year-old Korean student surnamed Chang on Sept. 27 in Melbourne, cutting off a joint of his little finger and breaking his left arm. Another Korean in Sydney was beaten by four to five people and is currently suffering from two broken ribs and skull fractures.
Though the Korean consular office and community members in Australia demanded thorough investigations, the Australian police have inadequately responded to those cases, Cho claimed. Cho told Yonhap News that a police officer in charge of his case even told him that Asians were “stupid” and “silly” to walk around the city late at night.
Local reports said the Australian government has failed to deal with a rising number of crimes and robberies against Asians in the country, claiming that the cases are not racially motivated crimes. Not only against Koreans, but also rising violence against Indians and Chinese involving “racial overtones” have been reported in Australia in recent years.
Critics claim that Australian authorities fear losing tourists and overseas students spending trillions of dollars in the country if the alleged racial attacks start to get international attention. Tourism and education are Australia’s major money-making industries, aside from the exports of minerals.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)