Victim of racial abuse was told 'you guys are the virus' as hate crimes against east Asian community soar

  • Video report by Political Correspondent Shehab Khan

A victim of hate crime was told “you guys are the virus” as she walked through central London, following a spike in hate crimes against people of east and south-east Asian descent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been a threefold increase in hate crime directed towards people from the British Chinese community following the coronavirus outbreak.

Lucy Park told ITV News she was walking through central London when she was racially abused and felt threatened because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There was this white guy, coming towards me, started to shout out, random stuff, very derogatory words, saying 'go back to your own country, you guys are the virus, you Chinese are spreading the virus and messing with our NHS system',” she said.

She said she feared she "might get physically attacked now, I really felt this is dangerous".

Since the start of the outbreak, there has been increased levels of hate crimes directed towards the east and southeast Asian community in Britain.

In February, Singaporean student Jonathan Mok said he was beaten up by a group of people in London’s Oxford Street and was told "we don't want your coronavirus in our country".

A mother-of-two told ITV News she was abused while on a bus and says she feels sad people are treating her this way.

Phoebe Lee said some girls "started looking at me" and saying "coronavirus, coronavirus".

She said she was left "speechless", but the girls were still looking at her when they went downstairs on the bus.

“I felt shock, my heart was beating a bit, and I felt helpless and I felt sad actually," Ms Lee said.

Alvin Carpio has been trying to organise meetings with community leaders, the Home Office and the police to call for more arrests and a public inquiry.

At the latest attempt the Home Office did not attend but there was a representative from the national police chiefs council.

He said: “Even though we are contributing to our culture, life, economy, society, within the brunt of racist attacks, simply because of the colour of our skin, it's making us fed up, it's making us angry and that's why we really hope action is done.”

Sarah Owen, the first female MP of Chinese descent, has faced a barrage of abuse online since the pandemic started and wants the government to do more.

Ms Owen told ITV News: “I think they should call corona-related racism, whether they see it, whether it's in their own party, or whether it's from people like Donald Trump.

"I think they should work with the police and our community to make sure we are safe.”

The government says it “strongly condemns those who have directed hate crime towards members of the East and South East Asian communities.

“There is absolutely no place in our society for this vile, divisive behaviour and we will continue to work across government and with the police to bear down on offenders, support victims and eradicate this prejudice.”

Many within this community have already had to deal with the heartbreak of this pandemic, the increased hate crimes and racist abuse is an added tragedy.