An Australian judge on Wednesday jailed two men who claimed to be members of a neo-Nazi group for the brutal beating of an Asian student that left him “almost unrecognisable as a human being”.
Two men, along with a youth who cannot be named because of his age, set upon Vietnamese student Minh Duong in an unprovoked attack on June 27. The assault in the Melbourne suburb left the 21-year-old unconscious in the gutter in a pool of blood.
A series of attacks on foreigners in Australia has gained global attention in recent years, most notably the 2010 murder of an Indian national in Melbourne who was stabbed to death as he walked home.
Residents called police after hearing Duong's screams as he was racially abused and repeatedly hit, kicked and stabbed by the trio and smashed over the head with a brick with such force it broke.
Justice Betty King said racial hatred played only a “very small part” in the attack on Duong, although she said the evidence showed that the student had been subjected to taunts such as “gook” and “yellow dog”.
“It is my view that this attack would in all likelihood have occurred irrespective of the nationality of the person walking down the street,” she said.
King said photographs of the victim's injuries were “horrendous”, adding: “He is almost unrecognisable as a human being.”
In jailing Shannon Hudson, 21, and Wayne O'Brien, 20, King said she believed the pair had a “general hatred” for the community and for some reason were just angry.
“I am of the view that a lot of your discussions and talk about skinheads and white supremacy, and your Heil Hitler signs, were not really understood by either of you,” the Victorian Supreme Court justice said.
“The increasing anger being displayed by young members of our community is one that is hard to fathom.”
O'Brien, who along with Hudson pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury, told police the pair were part of a neo-Nazi skinhead group which disliked Asians, Jews and blacks.
He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years with a minimum non-parole period of two-and-a-half years while Hudson, who has a criminal history, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years and will serve at least eight years.
The third attacker was sent through the youth court.