A woman was punched and knocked unconscious after she stepped in to defend her Chinese friend who was accused of carrying coronavirus.
Trainee lawyer Meera Solanki, from Solihull, was out with friends celebrating her 29th birthday at Birmingham’s Ana Rocha Bar and Gallery on Frederick Street.
Miss Solanki was inside the venue with her friends including Mandy Huang, 28, who was visiting from London, when the group were targeted by a group of Asian men.
The friends left the bar after Miss Solanki said she was repeatedly harassed by one of the men who later followed the three women out of the venue at around 2am on Sunday 9 Februrary.
Miss Solanki said: ‘I was having birthday drinks with a group of of girls and guys including Chinese friends.
‘There were a group of Asian men inside the venue – one of them kept coming up to me and harassing me. He seemed to have a problem with me being an Indian girl with a multi-racial group of friends,’ she told The Sunday Mercury.
Miss Solanki added: ‘We tried to ignore him, even when he tried to spit at one of my friends.
‘Towards the end of the night – there was just the three of us girls left including my Chinese friend Mandy.
She continued: ‘The man came over again and was being aggressive so we left but he followed us.
‘For some reason he got really angry with her. He started abusing her calling her a dirty c****.
‘He said ‘take your f****** coronavirus and take it back home.’
Miss Solanki told how she was ‘shocked and angry’ and shouted at the man to stop while she tried to push him away.
‘He punched me in the head, I hit the pavement and was knocked unconcious,’ Miss Solanki said.
An ambulance was called to the scene and a witness said: ‘What I saw was beyond despicable. A totally vicious assault.’
Miss Solanki spent six hours at Heartlands Hospital where she was treated with concussion and was off work for a week.
She added: ‘I was so shocked and horrified by his aggressive behaviour and horrific words.
‘As I lay unconscious he continued to threaten my friends and abuse them before walking away calmly with his group of friends who did nothing to stop him or help me.’
A member of a Birmingham based Anglo-Chinese group said yesterday paranoia surrounding the disease has led to unease and confrontation.
West Midlands Police have launched an appeal to find the thug responsible for the shocking violence.
There are 400,000 Chinese people living in England and Wales.
Reports of coronavirus violence has already surfaced in Newcastle, York and Manchester.
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.’
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.’
A manager at Ana Rocha Bar confirmed the attack had taken place outside his premises, but said he was unaware what sparked the violence.
The popular venue has CCTV of the incident.
Co-owner of popular Chinatown restaurants Wing Wah and Caffe Dorian Chan said: ‘I have heard of similar attacks based on people’s shocking racism after the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Thankfully, this attack has been reported to the police. And it’s vital there is a proper investigation.’
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: ‘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.
‘Anyone with information can contact us via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime. Quote crime reference number 20BW/39330Q/20.’
West Midlands Ambulance Services said: ‘We were called at 2:03am on February 9 to reports of an assault at an address on Frederick Street. An off-duty paramedic was already at the scene with the patient.
‘The woman didn’t want to be taken to accident and emergency, so our crews were stood down.’