TWO MEN have been injured in an alleged racially-motivated assault in County Cork.
Martin Hong (24) and Arthur Ma (25), originally from China, say they were subjected to a racist tirade before they were beaten by a gang earlier this month.
According to Mr Hong, the pair were walking down the street in Ballyphenane, Co Cork, at around 8pm on 8 August when the unprovoked attack took place.
He told RTÉ News at One that they were approached by a group of youths who began shouting abuse related to coronavirus at them, and when Mr Ma filmed the group and asked them to repeat what they had said, the gang physically attacked them.
"We asked them to repeat what they said. They said we were racist and were saying bad things about Ireland," Mr Hong told the outlet. "They tried to portray themselves as the victims."
The 24-year-old says that when he tried to reason with the group, one of the youths punched him in the face, knocking out one of his teeth and leaving him with two black eyes, a bleeding nose and rendering him unconscious.
Another of the group then attacked his friend but a passerby who witnessed the attack called Gardaí, who brought the friends to Cork University Hospital to recover overnight.
Mr Hong said he is scared to leave his home following the incident, and admitted that while he has been racially abused before-- including by very young children who "had only learned to speak"-- this is the first time an attack became physical.
Gardaí at Togher Garda Station confirmed to The Irish Times that they are investigating the incident, which is believed to have involved a group of youths aged between their late teens and early 20's.
The revelation comes following a high-profile racist attack on a Chinese woman in Dublin, who was racially abused by a number of youths before being pushed into the Royal Canal.