LONDON — United Kingdom police questioned six people Sunday in a vicious attack on a teenage asylum-seeker in the London borough of Croydon.
Authorities have arrested four men and two women, all in their 20s, on charges of attempted murder in the attack that left a 17-year old Kurdish-Iranian hospitalized with a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain.
Police said eight youths approached the teen at a bus stop Friday night. Upon learning he was an asylum-seeker, they chased him through the streets and beat him. The attack stopped only after bystanders intervened and police sirens could be heard.
Residents told Press Association they saw far more people involved in the attack and saw many more watching as the teen was beaten.
Police are treating the attack as a hate crime. They are searching for witnesses and asking the public to come forward with information.
Britain has seen a surge in xenophobia expressed in threats, taunts and attacks after British voters chose to leave the European Union in a June referendum.
Nonetheless, Friday's attack prompted shock among many in Britain’s diverse, multi-ethnic society. London Mayor Sadiq Khan reinforced that view Sunday, underscoring that “hate crime has no place in London.”
“London is an amazingly diverse city. We don’t just accept our differences, but we embrace and celebrate them,” Khan said in a statement. “Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type.”
Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, the local commander in Croydon, said residents were shocked by the ferocity of the attack. Extra officers are out on the streets to reassure people.
“This is not usual for the area,” he said. “This is not Croydon. Croydon is a very diverse community.”
© 2017 Associated Press