Police admit failure to treat Chinese man's murder as racist


originally by: The Guardian
published: 23rd August 2011

The family of a murdered Chinese man have received a public apology after the police admitted that officers had failed to treat an attack by a gang of youths as a racist murder. Lothian and Borders police said on Tuesday there were a series of “significant” and unacceptable flaws in its investigation into the killing last year of Simon San, a 40-year-old takeaway worker.

San died from severe head injuries after he was attacked by a group of white youths outside the family’s Chinese takeaway at Lochend in Edinburgh. San’s head hit the ground with fatal force after one attacker, John Reid, 16, struck him with a “poleaxe” blow.

After admitting culpable homicide, Reid was jailed for five years while two other attackers, also 16, had their sentences for assault later cut to 26 and 24 months.

The police had decided the attack was a robbery because San’s wallet and mobile were taken. They ignored the family’s belief that it was racially motivated, based on earlier incidents and eyewitness testimony that his attackers called San “chinky”.

Detectives also found at an early stage that one of San’s attackers was “racially prejudiced” and had been reported for a racist offence, while another two had previously been charged for attacking another Chinese shopkeeper.

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