Malaysian student says UK attackers included kids
A Malaysian student has recounted how even children took part in an assault on him in London's riots, a scene captured in online footage that has sparked an outpouring of revulsion.
In an episode viewed countless times on the Internet, Asyraf Haziq Rosli, 20, sat dazed on an east London street with a broken jaw after being attacked by a mob, only to then be mugged by a group of people pretending to help him.
Monday's assault has gained global attention as an example of the callousness and chaos of several days of rioting, and has sparked online campaigns seeking donations for the young Malaysian.
Asyraf said his ordeal began when he was set upon by a mob while riding his bicycle.
"There were also young children, schoolchildren in the group. They wore hoodies and kept pulling at me," he said in a video shot by a friend Tuesday from his London hospital bed and posted online.
"They were trying to get at the phone in the pocket of my sweater. So they pulled my bike, and when they did this I hit the ground and injured my jaw. There was blood," he said speaking in Malay Bahasa, his face badly swollen.
"The people fled the scene. Other people then approached me and said they wanted to help, but instead the people behind me just took stuff from my backpack."
British Prime Minister David Cameron singled out the assault on Asyraf as he vowed Wednesday to restore order in London and other riot-affected cities.
"When we see children as young as 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear that there are things that are badly wrong in our society," Cameron said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was "concerned" by the attack and warned his country's citizens in Britain to be on their guard.
"I hope Malaysians in London and the surrounding areas will be wary and look after their own security," he said in a Twitter posting late Wednesday.
Malaysian media reports said Asyraf had been on his way to buy food to break his daily fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The attack has triggered online efforts both in Britain and Malaysia to provide support for Asyraf, who in British media reports has been commonly referred to as "Ashraf".
One British campaign, somethingniceforashraf.tumblr.com, said it was taking donations and running a poll on how best to help him, "to show to him and his country that only a tiny minority of us are scumbags".
The site is complemented by a parallel campaign on Twitter.
At least two similar campaigns have reportedly been launched in Asyraf's home country.
The Star, Malaysia's biggest selling English-language newspaper, said Asyraf's ordeal was the most-retrieved subject on its website.
Meanwhile, 10 Malaysian students have moved to an apartment building offered by their university as a safe location in central London, it reported.
About 13,500 Malaysians study in Britain, according to the British embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry has urged its nationals in Britain to exercise caution and avoid high-risk areas in London.
© 2011 AFP