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‘Victims should speak up’

Foreign nationals should report any crimes against them without fear it will lead to scrutiny of their visas, police say.


Two Indian men who were allegedly assaulted at Harris Park in western Sydney on Monday night did not lodge a complaint with police.

Police were called to Wigram Street just before 9pm (AEST) on Monday after the men were allegedly attacked by a group of Lebanese men.

That sparked an impromptu protest of about 200 Indians, allegedly culminating in attacks on three Lebanese men, who suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Assistant Police Commissioner Dave Owens said the long-weekend violence was random and not racially motivated.

However, he admitted there were members of the Indian community living in Sydney who felt they were being targeted.

“There’s a feeling among the community that they are being specifically targeted,” he said.

Statistically, Indians were not over-represented as victims of crime, he said. However, Mr Owens said not reporting of crimes was all too common within some communities.

“It’s very frustrating because if somebody commits an offence I believe they should be charged and they should be prosecuted before the courts,” he said.

“There are a number of myths and misconceptions amongst certain community groups that if they come forward and report a crime, we’re interested in whether they are working more hours than their visa allows them to, and hence they don’t want the crime reported.

“That’s not what we’re interested in, what we’re interested in is locking up offenders who break the law.” Mr Owens said Monday’s violence resulted from an escalation of events.

“I don’t believe at this point in time it is racially motivated,” he told reporters.

“(Monday) night was an escalation over a period of time.

“(It) started with eggs being thrown from a motor vehicle progressively into a group of people with baseball bats, and a brick was thrown and then what I would classify as a vigilante group, or protesters, coming out on the street and taking out a reprisal.

“I do not encourage reprisal attacks in any way. Leave the detection of offenders and their arrest, to us.

“I don’t believe it is a turf war, or a territory war, that’s not what it’s about.

“I believe these were a random act which unfortunately have escalated.”

Police will work with education facilities and public transport operators to try to provide maximum security for the high numbers of Indian students living in Sydney.