18:07 GMT03 March 2021
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    The first case of COVID-19 was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 but the virus rapidly spread around the world in the early part of 2020. In August last year a Singaporean student in London bore the brunt of coronavirus-inspired xenophobia.

    A schoolboy has been sentenced for punching a Singaporean man in London’s Oxford Street shopping district and telling him: "We don’t want to catch your f***ing coronavirus."

    Jonathan Mok, 23, was walking with a friend on 24 February - just as news emerged of the first dozen COVID-19 cases in the UK.

    The 15-year-old boy, and his friends, pushed Mr Mok to the floor and the boy punched him in the face, giving him a black eye. Mr Mok was kicked while he was on the ground and later needed facial surgery.

    The boy was convicted of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm earlier this month and was sentenced on Wednesday 27 January at Highbury Corner Youth Court in north London.

    He had already pleaded guilty to wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent on 10 August.

    Instead of a jail sentence, magistrates gave him an 18-month youth referral order and put him on curfew for 10 weeks.

    Detective Sergeant Emma Kirby, the officer in the case, said: "This was a vicious, unprovoked attack and the victim was, understandably, left shaken by the whole incident."

    She added: "There’s no room on our streets for this kind of violent behaviour and we are committed to finding the perpetrators of offences like these."

    Tags:
    London, coronavirus, COVID-19
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