Two arrested over attack on Indian in Brisbane

The 25-year-old Indian national, whose name was not revealed, was using a telephone box in Macgregor in Brisbane's south on Thursday night when he was attacked and punched to the side of the head and robbed of his wallet.

Police have arrested and charged a 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old youth "with actual violence" while in company over the incident, local media reported today.
Police are also looking for another man, who punched the victim twice in the head at the phone box, before robbing him.

They said the teenage boy would be dealt with under the Juvenile Justice Act while the 20-year-old Macgregor youth was due to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court shortly.

Another Indian, a cabbie who was also assaulted in Carindale in Brisbane's southeast yesterday by two drunk passengers after an argument over fare, said that he was now considering returning to India.

"I don't think I will be much longer in this country," the cabbie, Sandeep Goyal, was quoted by ABC as saying.

The men, who punched the driver in the face several times and smashed the car's windscreen, have been charged over that incident and are due to face the court again in March.

However, police said there is no suggestion race was a factor in either incident.
Nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians, mostly students, were reported in Australia in 2009. Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old student who was stabbed to death here by unidentified assailants, was the first victim of such attacks this year.

Scrambling hard for a breakthrough in the murder case of Garg, Victorian police said they will reconstruct the final moments of his life in a bid to catch the killer.
Homicide squad detectives plan to return to Yarraville in Melbourne's west to retrace Garg's last steps before he was fatally stabbed on January 2, According to 'The Age'.
Meanwhile, a body representing Australian universities has accused state and federal governments of ignoring its warnings on problems faced by overseas students, including Indians.

Universities Australia, which represents 39 universities, said it had alerted governments to problems relating to student safety, poor-quality colleges, lack of concessions on public transport and immigration matters two years ago.

"It (Universities Australia) passed on to Australian authorities warnings from officials in China and India relating to student safety. It also conveyed to government students' disenchantment resulting from a perception they were being treated like cash cows," 'The Age' reported.

Reacting to the latest two attacks on Indian youths in Brisbane, city-based Indians have raised serious concerns, labelling them as "copycat" crimes fuelled by the spate of attacks on students in Australia.

Queensland President of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, Umesh Chandra, said locals feared the assaults were triggered by the attacks on Indians in Melbourne and Sydney."I firmly do believe that it is part of the chain reaction and it is a copycat because what's happened there (in other parts of Australia), people have been talking about something like that possibly happening here (Brisbane)," Chandra said.
"And here it is right on our doorstep. It's happened last night. And there is a fear that this could escalate."

Chandra said Indian community would like police to make public the details of the crimes and arrests so they can see something is being done. He said a tough approach by authorities would also help repair Australia's international reputation.
Insisting that there was no evidence to suggest any racism angle in the two attacks, Acting Police Commissioner Kathy Rynders said: "Generally the clearest indicator (of the motivation for an attack) are comments made by the offenders to the individuals."
"Both complainants in these matters have said there were no comments in relation to their ethnicity by the offenders," Rynders was quoted as saying.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who returned from a trip to the US today to the news of the assaults, said "unfortunately these attacks are likely to cause some concern in the Indian community and I say to them you have my guarantee that all of the available police resources necessary will be investigating these attacks, as they would any attack against anybody in Queensland."

"Obviously these attacks have just happened and it's yet to be seen what motivated them."

Treasurer Andrew Fraser sought to play down the attacks, saying "crime's been dropping here in Queensland by more than 26 per cent since 2000, and that's what we want to emphasise to people."

"We don't want this to be conflated into something we don't believe it is."
Reacting to the incidents, state opposition front-bencher Tim Nicholls said visitors should feel safe in Queensland. "No-one should feel under any threat coming here for education or work, or to visit family or for any of those purposes."

"I think it's a great shame if that's occurring, but I (want) to emphasise that race doesn't seem to be a factor in these incidents."

Acting Commissioner Rynders said police have extra security planned for Australia Day on Tuesday to prevent any untoward incident."Across the state we've got extra police deployed. We will be deploying them according to the intelligence. But we have no concerns at this point in time and there's no intelligence to indicate that any particular member of our communities are being targeted by any individuals."

She said crimes against Indians and other nationalities are minimal and the community have nothing to fear."We are certainly not anticipating further attacks on Indians that would be of a copycat nature," she said.

"We can assure ... all members of the Queensland community that Queensland is a safe place, that crime has been going down here for the last nine years, that no particular elements within our community are more at risk than any other elements of our community."

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