Police launch probe into five racists attacks linked to the coronavirus in Portsmouth and Southampton after Asian students and school pupils were verbally abused and told to ‘go back to your f****** country’
- The attacks in Southampton and Portsmouth have been linked to coronavirus
- One student said he had a stone thrown at him and he and others were abused
- Hampshire police confirmed they had received some reports of racist abuse
Five alleged racist attacks in Southampton and Portsmouth triggered by the coronavirus are being investigated by police.
Members of the Asian community including university students and school pupils are said to have been verbally abused with racial slurs in the space of just four days.
A University of Southampton student reportedly had a stone thrown at him in the centre of the city and was told by a man and a woman: ‘Go back to your f***ing country.’
Another student wearing a face mask was called a ‘f***ing virus’ while she walked home and a staff member at a Chinese restaurant in Southampton was harassed by a man who cited the coronavirus.
In neighbouring Portsmouth, a man was allegedly asked to get off a bus by its driver because he was wearing a face mask.
A University of Southampton student is one member of the Asian community who say they have been racially abused over the coronavirus outbreak (stock photo of the university)
The University of Southampton’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSASoton) has urged people not to insult people by creating a anti-abuse poster.
The poster reads: ‘I am not a virus, I am a human.’
It has been distributed in Chinese restaurants across Southampton and may also be used across the University of Southampton campus.
Dr Michael Ng, chair of the association and an Associate Professor at the university, said: ‘There are racist people who are using the coronavirus as an excuse to racially abuse the Asian community.
‘Students at the university are affected – they are afraid of putting on their masks in case they face abuse. There have been no incidents on campus, but there are many which have happened in the city centre.
‘There are many incidents which have not been reported to the police.’
Dr Ng also said pupils from Hong Kong and Macau studying at a private school in Portsmouth were verbally abused by fellow pupils however the matter was dealt with internally.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: ‘There have been a small number of incidents of racial abuse.
‘Any crimes perpetuated by hate and prejudice are completely unacceptable. We are working with Chinese community leaders.’