COVID attack on UCL law student racially motivated, court finds

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Jonathan Mok suffered fractured nose and broken cheekbone following assault

Images posted to Facebook by Jonathan Mok

An unprovoked attack on a Singaporean law student by a teenager over coronavirus was “racially motivated”, a court has found.

UCL student Jonathan Mok, 24, suffered a fractured nose and broken cheekbone after he was assaulted by a 15-year-old boy outside a souvenir shop on Oxford Street in February last year. The teen, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is said to have kicked him and punched him twice.

Shortly after the attack, an anti-racism post featuring a bloodied and bruised photograph of Mok went viral on Facebook.

The boy previously admitted wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm but denied the attack was racially motivated, telling a court in December he was not racist and had not referenced coronavirus. The court, however, heard evidence that several people had witnessed the word “disease” or “coronavirus” from a few metres away.

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The teen went on to be tried for racially aggravated grievous bodily harm, which this week resulted in his conviction at Highbury Corner Youth Court.

Chairwoman of the bench Lesley Ward said it was beyond reasonable doubt that the attack was “unprovoked” and “racially motivated”.

The youth was released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at Highbury Corner Youth Court on 27 January.

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