UK teen admits to punching Singapore student in 'coronavirus attack'
A 15-year-old boy admitted in a London court on Monday to punching Singaporean student Jonathan Mok and saying "I don't want your coronavirus in my country" during an unprovoked attack in February.
The boy, who was not named, was part of a group of youths who had allegedly bashed Mr Mok, 23, near the Tottenham Court Road tube station in Oxford Street on Feb 24.
The assault left Mr Mok bruised, bloodied and needing surgery for fractures to his nose and cheekbone.
On Monday, his 15-year-old assailant pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court to wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Sept 7.
According to the BBC, prosecutor Beata Murphy said the boy had been with a group of friends when they saw Mr Mok.
Hearing someone say something about coronavirus, Mr Mok turned around and was told, "don't you look at me".
He was then punched in the face and assaulted until a passer-by intervened.
In a Facebook post on March 3, which was shared almost 40,000 times, Mr Mok gave his account of the attack.
Images of the final-year law student's bruised right eye went viral.
Mr Mok later amended the post, removing details of the assault.
He wrote: "I appreciate all the support I've been getting and I'm glad that this issue has sparked a debate about racism."
The boy was nabbed on March 5, a day after the London metropolitan police released images of four men linked to the attack. He was charged in July.
A 16-year-old boy was also arrested on March 4 but has since been released with no further action taken against him.
Mrs Murphy said the 15-year-old boy was "silent" during his police interviews until closed-circuit television (CCTV) images were shown to him, when he said "you can't even see me hit him", the BBC reported.
District Judge Nicholas Rimmer adjourned sentencing for a report to be prepared.
In a press release, the Crown Prosecution Service said it will be applying for a hate crime sentence uplift in this case at the next court hearing.
Said Senior Crown Prosecutor Daniel Kavanagh: "This was a vicious and completely unprovoked attack on a young man who was simply making his way home with a friend after dinner in central London.
"He was clearly targeted in this hate crime because of his ethnic appearance."