Video footage has been released of an American visiting student being brutally attacked in Tower Hamlets just three days after he arrived in London.
Tower Hamlets Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have released the CCTV footage of the violent attack on Francesco Hounye, 22, from Florida, who they believe was targeted simply because he was “obviously not local.”
The detailed footage clearly shows five men following Houyne and a friend as they walked back home to Shadwell, after a night out in the Brick Lane area on Monday, 17 June.
The five Asian men violently attacked Hounye, as shown in the footage. The group smashed a bottle in his face and then chased him to continue their assault, repeatedly kicking and punching him.
Hounye was taken to the Royal London Hospital with deep slash wounds to his head and face. He needed 23 stitches to his face and more stitches internally and has suffered permanent scarring.
The suspects have yet to be identified, despite detailed inquiries. Investigating officer, Detective Constable Ben Mott, said: “We believe the suspects picked a fight with the victim as he was obviously not from the local area and they took exception to the fact that he was a bit different… when challenged by the Asian males, he answered back.”
“They retaliated by grabbing the bottle and launching a vicious attack that has left him scarred for life. He had come to the UK to enhance his studies and has been left so shocked and horrified by what happened that he feels unsafe and is unsure if he wants to stay here.”
“The CCTV footage is exceptionally clear and I believe the suspects to be local. I would ask people to please look closely at the faces of the attackers and help us identify them. I am positive someone would know who they are from looking at the footage.”
Houyne said in a statement to police: “As a result of this incident I am now scared to go out on my own in London. I am a visitor to the UK and was considering continuing my studies here but this incident has made me think twice.”
“I feel very emotional about the whole situation. I also now face the rest of my life with the permanent scarring that will be left on my face as a result of this attack. Every time I look in the mirror from now on I will be reminded of this incident”, he added.
The suspects are described as Asian and aged in their late teens to early 20s. The man who used the bottle was wearing a red and white striped short-sleeved top with black trousers, white trainers and a large watch.
Anyone who can help is asked to contact Tower Hamlets CID on 020 7275 4546 or if you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.