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Attacks on Indians ‘not racially-motivated’

The assault of two Indian men by a group of Lebanese men, which sparked a reprisal attack, was not racially motivated, police say.


Police were called to Wigram Street at Harris Park, in Sydney’s west, just before 9pm (AEST) on Monday after an Indian man in his early 20s was attacked by a group of Lebanese men.

Parramatta Local Area Commander Superintendent Robert Redfern said there was a second, separate assault of an another Indian man at the same time in the same area.

‘History of student attacks’

“One gentleman did not wish to proceed at all and the other one received very minor injuries,” Supt Redfern told ABC Radio.

“I don’t think there’s any suggestion that they are racially motivated.

“There has been some history of students being attacked, not just in Harris Park, that’s been an issue in the community.

“There is a suggestion that these incidents last night were racially motivated. Certainly it would appear to us they were opportunistic and this is an area of Harris Park where there is a very large Indian community.”

A crowd of about 200 Indian men gathered in Wigram Street after the assaults, attacking three Lebanese men.

But Supt Redfern said the men, who were treated by ambulance officers for minor cuts and bruising, may not have been the same ones responsible for the attacks on Indians.

“I don’t think there’s any way we could suggest that,” he said.

“We wouldn’t know at this stage.”

‘Hockey sticks, baseball bats’

Supt Redfern said there was no suggestion knives had been used.

“There were certainly suggestions people had either baseball bats or hockey sticks and the like,” he said.

He said police had devoted enough resources to the area, where there had been a reduction in crime.

But there was a safety issue for the many students who lived in Harris Park, employed in the sort of student jobs which meant they started and finished late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

“We’re happy to work with this community, it’s a community we have been working with for the past couple of years,” he said.

No charges have been laid.