Man injured in racist attack

POLICE are hunting a gang of youths who left an Algerian man with serious facial injuries moments after they had asked him for the time.

The 40-year-old victim had been walking past a bus stop in Moredun Park Road where around 15 youths in their mid-teens were gathered.

He checked his watch to give them the time, but was then pounced on by a number of the teenagers, who hurled racist abuse during the brutal assault.

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The man, who lives in the area, managed to flee with injuries including a broken nose and damaged shoulder after being repeatedly punched. He alerted police and was later treated in hospital.

Detectives said they were following a “positive line of enquiry” into the attack, but appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.

The man, who has lived in Edinburgh for around 12 years and is married to a Scottish woman, was left badly shaken by his ordeal, which took place at around 9.25pm last Monday.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray had met regularly with the victim in recent months in a bid to help him with visa difficulties.

Mr Murray said: “This is a disgraceful act that was racially motivated. The local community in the south of Edinburgh is very multi-cultural and we need to stamp out any behaviour of this kind.

“We also need to get the people involved and find out why they have taken part in this attack. There was a large number of youths around at the time and we must make sure that any kind of gang culture is not allowed to take root in south Edinburgh.

“The man who was attacked is a pillar of the community and this kind of incident has no place here. With the attack on Simon San in our minds, we’re reminded that the consequences for such an attack can be fatal.”

Mr Murray said that the area had suffered from antisocial behaviour issues involving youths on the streets, but the police’s safer neighbourhood team was working to combat the problem.

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A police spokesman said: “Police are investigating a racial assault that happened in Moredun Park Road last Monday evening, where a 40-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries. Officers are following a positive line of inquiry in relation to the incident, however, anyone with any information should contact us.”

The attack comes amid ongoing controversy over the Simon San killing in August last year. Mr San was assaulted by four youths near his family’s Chinese takeaway in Lochend Road. John Reid, 16, was later jailed for culpable homicide.

Police chiefs publicly apologised to Mr San’s family last week after an inquiry found that officers had failed to record the killing as a racially motivated crime.