A man who was savagely beaten and whipped by a gang of up to 30 men on a Melbourne beach has called his attackers “animals”.
When a gang of African teens began destroying temporary fencing outside St. Kilda Life Saving Club, two landscapers working there yelled at the men to leave the worksite but instead, they attacked.
“There was about 30 of them and they all turned at once and attacked me, all of them swinging at once,” one of the victims, Andrew, recalled.
“I just told them to get out of the construction site and then they just looked at me and they just charged at me like animals, like in the wild, they were wild animals.”
The 21-year-old said the gang said nothing to him before the attack, in which he received a sudden punch to the head before being kicked, “stomped” on, and whipped with a belt.
Andrew sustained multiple facial injuries, and his colleague Nathan had his nose broken by the youths. “Nathan was up against the wall getting beat up. He tried to grab somebody attacking me from behind and then a group of the people attacking me turned on him”, the landscaper told Ten News. The pair were taken to hospital by paramedics.
Before launching their brutal attack on the workmen, the African teens had been terrorising beachgoers for hours, stealing their phones, bikes, and other possessions. Police were called to the south-east Melbourne beach but each time, the gang would just disperse before joining up again to continue their campaign of harassment.
When police arrived there following the attack, they successfully fled using this tactic. A number of items were found at the scene including a large knife. Up to 50 youths were engaged in a huge brawl, in which three teenagers were injured and one left unconscious, which spilled over onto the Life Saving Club where men then beat the two landscapers unconscious.
One witness told radio station 3AW that two groups of teenagers of African appearance were pushing and shoving each other on the beach before the fight erupted.
Another told The Age she saw the “large” knife found by police being pulled, and a 15-year-old being knocked out with a pole that had been pulled from the ground.
Inspector Jason Kelly said, “’I want to provide some reassurance to the community that what occurred last night was not acceptable”, and insisted “the matter will be fully investigated and those responsible will be identified”.
Andrew said the legal system needs to be overhauled, as similar attacks are recurring continuously. “’It’s getting to the point where another country might be better for me,’ he said, adding: “I can’t go to work and work a little over time and not be attacked. [The culprits] are learning it’s okay to break the law to do whatever they want.”
In recent years, gangs of mostly Sudanese men have terrorised Melbourne suburbs with home invasions, rape, assault, and carjackings. Police have said the perpetrators seem to be motivated by pleasure, warning: “Drugs or money aren’t the driver. It’s purely for the fun. They’re getting off on humiliating their victims.”
Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt has said the country’s immigration and refugee policy is putting Australians in danger, and decried “the media, politicians and police” who “keep covering up [this] fact”.