Investigation underway into alleged assault of two men in Cork 

Investigation underway into alleged assault of two men in Cork 
Martin Hong

Gardaí in Togher are investigating an alleged assault of two Chinese men involving a number of male youths at Pearse Road in Ballyphehane.

The incident occurred shortly before 8pm on Saturday, August 8th. 

It’s alleged the two men, both in their 20s, were verbally abused before being physically assaulted.

The men - Martin Hong and Arthur Ma, sustained cuts and bruises in the alleged incident.

Mr Hong said the attack involved three teenagers.

"It was around 8pm when I was walking with my friend to do some grocery shopping (in Cork)," he told RTÉ.

"On the way, we heard some people talking about the Chinese virus as we were walking in their direction."

"They were making fun of us but when we asked them to repeat what they were saying, they laughed at us and made fun of us."

"They also raised their middle finger towards us."

Mr Hong said when his pal tried to record the attack on his phone, one of the teens produced his own phone. 

The teenager claimed the Chinese nationals had been making derogatory comments about Ireland.

"My friend tried to film it because we did not want to get into any physical contact with them. We asked them to repeat what they said."

"They said we were racist and were saying bad things about Ireland.

"They tried to portray themselves as the victims."

The two men were then assaulted by one member of the gang.

"I stepped forward to try to reason with them and one of them just punched me. Both of my eyes got very severely bruised. I got punched in the eye and the nose, my nose was bleeding."

"I lost one of my teeth and, for one or two minutes, I lost consciousness when I fell to the ground."

Another member of the group attacked Mr Ma.

"We both ended up in hospital. A very nice old lady walking by called the police and the police took us to hospital."

The men required overnight hospitalisation arising out of the incident. They have been reluctant to talk about the attack.

The two men have lived in Ireland for over a year. It was the first time they had experienced such a violent incident.

"It happened around my home so I don't dare to go out from my home,"Mr Hong said.

"I went out for some shopping yesterday and a teenager said 'hi' to me and I was afraid to reply."

Mr Hong has had to undergo dental work to repair damage to his teeth.

"Before now, all the racial things were verbal - this is the first time I got physically attacked."

"Since this pandemic began affecting the Irish community, the first racist comment I received was from some kids. They were toddlers, they had only learned to speak and they were already racially abusing (people). They were only kids and that is the shocking part."

Gardai have confirmed that they are following a definite line of enquiry in relation to the incident. 

It is understood that some of the youths were juveniles.

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