Racist Attack in Box Hill, with customers and workers being told to go back to China

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Media source (Melbourne Today – www.meltoday.com)

Written by Erin Chew

Box Hill is a suburb nestled in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs and holds the title of a multicultural city, with around 33% of its residents being of Asian Australian descent, with around 25% being of Chinese Australian heritage. Beyond the hub colours, flavours and culture, Box Hill on September 3rd, 2015 was the scene of a shoplifting crime which went wrong.

It was reported on Melbourne Today, a Victorian based Chinese online media, that three teenagers, identified as Caucasian (two boys and one girl), entered a Chinese grocery store with the intent of shoplifting. The shop assistant was a young Chinese woman and the two teenage boys in a bid to distract her, tried to flirt with her, whilst the teenage girl began the shoplifting spree. The shop assistant saw what was going, she raised the alarm and was pelted with racial slurs including being told to “go back to China as far as she could” and poking fun at her accented English. This lasted around twenty minutes. Being caught out and for the shop assistant not reacting to their racial slurs, the teenagers went back to their racist tirade with the teenage girl calling a female customer present at the counter ugly because she had a Chinese face.

According to the CCTV footage, a violent attack ensued with the teenagers going on an aggressive rampage. The female customer got punched in the face by the teenage girl, which caused her glasses to break. Her boyfriend in an attempt to defend her got pushed to the ground by the two teenage boys. When the shop assistant raised the alarm and called security, she also got punched in the face by the teenage girl and her hair pulled.

When security arrived, the violence escalated and the two security guards could not subdue the offenders and stop the attack. It was only when the police officers arrived that the violent brawl stopped and the three teenagers being taken away.

However, as the three teenagers were minors and under the age of eighteen they were set free by the police. This caused an outrage within the Chinese community of Box Hill with a protest held today (06.09.2015) outside the plaza where the grocery store was located. Holding up placards and cor flute’s saying No to racism and No to violence, local Chinese community leaders call this incident a hate crime.7

With the recent rise of xenophobic and racial attacks against Chinese Australians, across the country, it is wrong that the three teenage offenders were set free to roam the streets. But sadly, these incidences of racism have happened more than just once. It started with public displays of casual racism against innocent bystanders who are of Chinese descent such as the incidents in a Sydney bus and on a Sydney train. And only recently a young couple having lunch in Sydney CBD got accused of being the Chinese causing the rise in property prices.

What makes this incident serious, is the fact that the racial slurs occurred with violence and aggressive behaviours. The victims who went by their daily routines, now must relive the incidents over and over again, hold their head in shame and deal with the psychological ramifications of their experience, whilst these three teenage offenders, who clearly have behavioural issues are free to roam the streets, re-offend and not feel an inch of guilt of what they have committed.

The Chinese community in Box Hill is organising a larger protest on September 8th, 2015.

The following are pictures of the incident based on the CCTV footage:

Footage of the teenage girl (in a hoodie) punching the shop assistant in the face and pulling her hair:

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The two customers who also were assaulted:

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Testimonies by the victims for the police, with death threats being made by the teenage offenders:

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A protest was held today (06.09.2015) outside of Box Hill Central, which was where the grocery store at the centre of the crime is located, calling this a hate crime and angered by the offenders being set free:

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(The pictures and the information of the incident was sourced from Melbourne Today – www.meltoday.com)

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