The brother of a 20-year-old overseas student who was placed in an induced coma after he was brutally bashed and robbed in an inner-city park is pleading for justice.
Yadwinder Singh says he wants the thugs who beat his younger brother, Manriajwinder Singh, of Reservoir, nearly to death, to be “caught and punished so innocent people like my brother and his friend don’t get bashed like this”.
CCTV footage released by police shows Mr Singh, 20, standing near the footpath with another friend at Birrarung Marr park, about 50 metres from St Kilda Road, when the trio were approached by eight men of African appearance and one fair-skinned woman about 4.15am on Sunday.
Detective Senior Constable Adam Foley said that after a brief conversation between the group and the two victims, one of the offenders kicked Mr Singh in the jaw, causing him to fall, unconscious, to the ground.
“While this was occurring, another man picked up a stick and beat the unconscious victim with it,” Senior Constable Foley said.
The attackers, aged in their late teens to early 20s, then robbed the two victims of their phones and ran away through Federation Square.
A third man, a friend of Mr Singh and the Springvale victim, who was talking on the phone to a relative at the time of the attack, managed to run away and alert the police.
Mr Singh was taken to The Alfred hospital with life-threatening injuries, and has since been transferred to the Intensive Care Unit after being placed in an induced coma, Senior Constable Foley said. His injuries are no longer life-threatening.
The other victim, a 23-year-old Springvale man, suffered swelling and abrasions to his face. He was treated by paramedics at the scene.
Police have not been able to track down the stolen phones, and are appealing to the public for information on the assault.
“Obliviously, this was an opportunistic crime,” Senior Constable Foley said.
“They saw two vulnerable victims minding their own business, and targeted them.
“It’s just disgusting what they did: they’re just cowards.”
Mr Singh’s brother said he was studying a Bachelor of Commerce at a Melbourne university, and had only been in Australia for a year.
He and his two friends had planned a trip into the city to “see a bit of Melbourne”, as they had studied and worked hard for a year and were yet to experience a night out in the CBD.
Mr Singh, who has lived in Australia for about seven years, said he received a call from his uncle in India on Saturday morning while he was at work. He said his uncle was alerted by the Indian Consulate about his nephew’s attack.
“I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I didn’t want to tell my mother, as she’s not really strong of heart. I just couldn’t believe it – it was really terrible”.
“My brother is only 20 years old, and he’s very innocent and doesn’t speak much.
“He told me he wanted to go out that night, but I said no, not today, maybe another day. But he said he really wanted to see the city.”
Mr Singh said he could not look at his brother while he was in such a state.
“My cousin was in the hospital yesterday for two hours.
“I couldn’t even sit down for two minutes. I can’t see my brother like that … it was too upsetting,” he said.