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Home   Medway   News   Article

Friends feared for lives as drive-by thugs launched racist attack in Chatham

06 September 2013
by Nicola Jordan
Muhammad Asad Sharif and Moinuddin Saiyad

Muhammad Asad Sharif and Moinuddin Saiyad

Friends have told how they were subjected to a sickening drive-by racist attack as they walked home.

The three Muslim men feared for their lives as a car driver, armed with an iron rod, and his passenger waged the unprovoked attack.

The harrowing ordeal happened as Moinddin Saiyaid, 30, Muhammad Asad Sharif, 33, and 18-year-old Shamule Ishael Plesca took a routine stroll along New Road Avenue, Chatham, after having dinner at their Medway homes on Sunday night.

Moinddin, who is studying at Kent College of Business and Computing in Gillingham, managed to call police and give them the registration number of the car involved.

The student, who lives with his sister and her family in Chatham, said: "I think if the police had not arrived so quickly we would be dead. They were threatening to kill us and told us to go home to our own country. It was very scary."

Moinddin, who hails from northern India, Muhammad, from Pakistan, and Shamule, from Romania, have all been in the UK for more than two years. They became friends after looking for part-time work together.

Moinddin said: "None of us have experienced anything like this. I came to England because it is the best place to be. I like the people and the lifestyle. But this behaviour disgusts me. They were obviously looking for trouble."

They heard the car travelling at speed behind them and then stop suddenly as they approached the King's Church.

Moinddin said: "One of the men got out and started swearing and saying he wanted a fight. He tried to throw punches at Shamule and I pulled him back. Then the driver got out with an iron rod. He hit me over the head with it but I managed to duck so it didn't really injure me."

The man then shouted vile racist abuse and "told us to get back to our own country".

Moinuddin Saiyad had his mobile phone broken in the incident

Moinuddin Saiyad had his mobile phone broken in the incident

Muhammad, who lives in Rochester, said he was very frightened.

In the brawl, one of the men stole Moinddin's mobile - but he managed to alert police on his spare phone.

As he relayed the registration number to switchboard operators, their attackers tried to remove the plate before speeding off towards Chatham.

The men did not need hospital treatment for what were minor injuries, but were badly shaken by the incident.

They were threatened, said Moinddin: "He said 'If you call the police, we will kill you'. Thankfully, the police arrived in minutes."

Dai Liyanage from Medway Ethnic Forum

Dai Liyanage from Medway Ethnic Forum

Dai Liyanage, from Medway Ethnic Forum, said: "This is absolutely shameful. We don't have a problem with racist attacks in the Medway Towns.

"I am proud how our young people mix at schools and how all cultures get involved in the community, largely thanks to the work of groups like the forum."

Mr Liyanage, who was born in Sri Lanka, added: "We are a multi-cultural society. I have lived here 50 years and I consider this my home. Let's hope this a one-off incident."

Neighbourhood Inspector David Matson said: "Racially motivated crimes are treated seriously by Kent Police and we are committed to targeting racism in any of its forms.

"Two men were arrested within minutes of this incident being reported and thankfully this type of crime is rare on the streets of Medway.

"‘I would urge victims of racist abuse to contact their local officers so we can put a stop to this insidious crime for good."

A 28-year-old man, from Rainham, was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault, criminal damage and drink driving. A 30-year-old man, from Gillingham, has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage.

Both have been bailed until Thursday pending further inquiries.

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