GARDAI ARE investigating disturbing footage showing a group of teenagers pushing a Chinese woman into the Royal Canal in Dublin.
The shocking clip went viral on Twitter over the weekend, sparking widespread condemnation from social media users.
In the footage, the woman can be seen surrounded by the youths before one of them proceeds to push her into the water.
The woman has been named as Xueden (Shirley) Xiong, a Chinese woman living and working in Dublin.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Xiong described how she had been walking between Castleknock and Ashton when two separate groups of youths began to harass and racially abuse her.
"One of them looked me straight in the eyes and said ‘coronavirus,'" Xiong told the newspaper.
"I didn’t say anything, I was stunned and they winked at each other."
The Chinese woman recalled how another group of boys then began shouting words like "Chinese noodles" and "fried noodles" at her.
This proved the final straw.
"I told them it was racial discrimination to speak like that," Xiong said.
"I wasn’t frightened anymore, all I felt was anger. There were lots of lone women walking along that canal at that time but they targeted me. I think there’s a reason behind that."
That was the point at which two of the youths from the group pushed her into the water.
— Eire EndsTV (@EireEndstv) August 15, 2020
The boys made a hasty exit and while Xiong called the police and waited for them to arrive, she ultimately decided to head home as her clothes were soaking wet.
She went on to file a police report but was told, in all likelihood, the boys would not be caught.
“The Garda asked if I had phone numbers for any witnesses. I had asked the people by the canal to be witnesses for when the Garda arrived but I didn’t think to ask for their numbers. I was too upset by what had happened. His question made me feel like I needed to have a complete dossier prepared before reporting to the gardaí,” she said.
“I understand the gardaí are busy because they’re under-resourced but I believe if I’d arrived in with a broken leg they would have treated me differently. I was still hurt. But he made it sound like nothing could be done.”
Depressingly, Xiong said this isn’t the first time she has suffered racial abuse in Dublin – the only difference is that this time she decided to speak up.
A garda spokesperson has told Dublin Live the attack is being investigated as an allegedly racially motivated incident.
He urged anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to contact them.
"An Garda Síochána takes hate crime seriously, and each and every hate crime reported to us is professionally investigated and victims supported during the criminal justice process,” he said.
An investigation is under way into an alleged racial attack on Friday after a video emerged on social media, which showed a woman being pushed into the Royal Canal near Ashtown in Dublin. | https://t.co/29uoGDBMZJ pic.twitter.com/KwavzsQV78
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 16, 2020
"The Garda Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019 – 2021 has a significant focus on enhancing the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes and An Garda Síochána is taking actions to improve internal recording and encourage more reporting by the public.
"An Garda Síochána would encourage anyone who feels they have been the victim of a hate crime to report the matter directly to An Garda Síochána and not to 3rd parties or on social media."