Published: 16:29, 04 May 2021
| Updated: 17:19, 04 May 2021
Callous thieves laughed at a city shopkeeper when he fell and hurt himself while giving chase in a bid to get his goods back.
Stevie Tung bravely went after the gang of youths who brazenly walked out of the Kukki Asian food store in Station Road West, Canterbury, with a packet of noodles without paying.
But as the 56-year-old tried to grab one by his rucksack, he tumbled to the ground severely bruising and grazing his hand and arm.
"I was so angry that they could think they could just walk out without paying that I had to go after them," said Mr Tung.
"But they just laughed at me when I fell and kept walking away."
It happened shortly before 2pm on Sunday and the shopkeeper had to go to the minor injuries unit at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for treatment to his injuries, which he described "very painful".
But he says the support he has received from the local community following the distressing incident has been overwhelming.
"People have been so kind and even brought in cards which has really warmed by heart," he said.
His ordeal was highlighted online by hotelier Sandie De Rougemont of the House of Agnes, which prompted an outpouring of sympathy.
Dave Roberts said: "I met Stevie when he bought the shop from me a few years ago.
"He is a decent and honourable man. This should not be happening. I hope he makes a speedy recovery and I wish him well."
Akshat Bhatia said: "Please, if there’s only one thing all of you do, let it be going to Kukki and showing Stevie our support, either by purchasing something or simply having a chat with him."
"Ellie Boam added: "I am so upset - he's the sweetest man ever and I enjoy shopping in Kukki every time thanks to him. Always gives me and my friends food recommendations and packs our bags for us. I hope he's doing okay."
"I know many of my customers who are local and everybody is very nice which is why this has come as a bit of a shock - Stevie Tung..."
Mr Tung said he was on his own in the shop when a group of five young black men came in and began browsing around.
"The way they behaved was a bit suspicious and then one just picked up a packet of noodles and walked out.
"I asked one of his friends if they were going to pay for it and he just said "why should I" and then they all walked out towards the Westgate Towers, which is when I went after them."
Mr Tung said shoplifting has not been a problem in his popular shop which he opened five years ago, specialising in Chinese, Japanese and Korean food.
"I know many of my customers who are local and everybody is very nice which is why this has come as a bit of a shock," he said
A police spokesman said: "Police were called at 1.50pm on Sunday, May 2 following a reported theft from a shop in Station Road West, Canterbury.
"Five men reportedly entered the shop and stole food items. Inquiries into the incident are ongoing."