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Racist attack of South Korean man in Italy draws outrage back home

Police in Italy have forwarded the case of a racist attack against a South Korean man to local prosecutors, according to Yonhap on Wednesday. File Photo by Tino Romano/EPA-EFE
Police in Italy have forwarded the case of a racist attack against a South Korean man to local prosecutors, according to Yonhap on Wednesday. File Photo by Tino Romano/EPA-EFE

June 16 (UPI) -- The South Korean Embassy in Italy confirmed that a Korean national in his 60s was targeted with racial slurs and beaten by a group of Italian teens in Tuscany last month, according to a South Korean press report.

Yonhap reported Wednesday that a South Korean electronics engineer in his 60s was injured when six young Italian men in their teens and their 20s attacked the man in the village of Anghiari.

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According to La Repubblica on May 26, the man tried to ignore the group after they reportedly said, "You are Chinese and you brought the virus here."

The group continued to follow the South Korean national and began to push and strike him when he walked away, the report said.

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Italian police have forwarded the case to local prosecutors after charging the defendants with racially motivated assault. The man may have relocated recently to Anghiari for a new job, according to Yonhap.

News of the May attack is drawing renewed anger in South Korea.

Online commenters said they "better not even dream of going on vacation" in Europe and said attacks are occurring because of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in China.

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Other South Korean commenters directed their grievances at China Wednesday and blamed China's initial mishandling of COVID-19 for igniting anti-Asian hate across the globe.

According to a Pew Research survey published in 2020, about 75% of South Koreans said they held unfavorable views of China.

Countries in Europe could be stepping up prosecutions of racially motivated crimes.

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Last month, prosecutors in France convicted four young adults of "public insult of a racist nature and incitement to commit a crime," CNN reported.

The defendants were accused of publishing anti-Asian tweets targeting Chinese individuals and accusing the Chinese of spreading the coronavirus.

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