Woman punched unconcious in 'Coronavirus rage' racist incident

A woman has been attacked in what is believed to be the Midlands' first case of coronavirus rage.

Trainee lawyer, Meera Solanki, was among a group targeted after her Chinese friend was told: "Take your coronavirus back home!"

Yesterday, a member of a Birmingham based Anglo-Chinese group said paranoia surrounding the disease has led to unease and confrontation.

West Midlands Police have launched an appeal to find the person responsible for the violence outside Birmingham's Ana Rocha Bar and Gallery, on Frederick Street, in the early hours of Sunday, February 9.

"We're investigating after a woman was assaulted after another was racially abused in Frederick Street, Hockley, around 2am on Sunday February 9. "A man made racist marks to one woman and after he was asked to stop he punched another female, in her 20s, in the face. She was temporarily knocked unconscious but escaped without serious injury. >"The attacker is described as Asian, 5ft 8ins tall, of large build and was wearing a flat cap and hoodie at the time.

West Midlands Police

An ambulance was called to the scene. Ms Solanki's chinese friend Mandy Huang, also endured racial abuse and was accused of carrying the virus.

Miss Solanki who bravely attempted to protect her, was knocked unconscious in the incident and hospitalised.

The attack happened in Frederick Street, Hockley, around 2am on Sunday February 9 Credit: BPM

There are 400,000 Chinese people living in England and Wales. Reports of coronavirus violence has already surfaced in Newcastle, York and Manchester. This month's shocking attack is the first in our region. Leading members of the Second City's Chinese community fear it will not be the last.

A spokeswoman for Birmingham Chinese Society - set-up to foster relations between the city's Western and East Asian residents - said: "There has always been abuse. The virus has given some individuals a reason for that abuse."

A misunderstanding over why some members of the Chinese community wear masks has added to the tension.

She explained: "We wear masks to protect others from our coughs and sneezes. Some wear them as a protection against pollution. Some women wear them because they don't want to be seen without make-up. We do it to protect others, not ourselves."

Respected businesswoman Dorian Chan, one of the most powerful figures in Birmingham's Chinese quarter, said: "For a man to attack a girl for defending her Chinese friend from his racial abuse, what has this world come to?

"But I have heard of similar attacks based on people's shocking racism after the coronavirus outbreak. There is a a lot of ignorant people who now have an excuse to attack us.

“I know of a Chinese student at Birmingham University who was punched in the face in Harborne - just because he was wearing a mask. He had his jaw dislocated. I’ve heard of Chinese people being chucked off buses in Birmingham because other passengers are complaining and telling them to get off. And the bus drivers do not stop it happening.

"Thankfully, this attack has been reported to the police. And it's vital there is a proper investigation."

The popular venue has CCTV of the incident. Anyone with information can contact police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime. Quote crime reference number 20BW/39330Q/20."