Mayor's heartfelt gesture after Korean backpacker assault
BUNDABERG Mayor Jack Dempsey has stepped up to declare his support for a South Korean woman assaulted on Bourbong St.
Working visa holder Sinae Jeong, 27, was thrown to the ground repeatedly and kicked in the head, face and neck after a group of youths abused her, accusing her of bringing coronavirus to Australia.
Ms Jeong has been working in Australia for 10 months and was with a friend at the time of the attack.
The March 20 attack left the young adventurer terrified.
Cr Dempsey was upset to hear of the attack in Bundaberg, so he spoke with police, met with Ms Jeong and wrote to the South Korean Ambassador in Canberra, Baek-soon Lee.
"I was appalled last week to hear about the sickening attack on a South Korean visitor and her friend in the Bundaberg CBD," Cr Dempsey said.
"I immediately reached out to police and requested a meeting with the victim, which took place on Tuesday morning.
"In addition, I wrote to the South Korean Ambassador and Consul, deploring the assault and assuring them that citizens of South Korea and all nations are welcome in Bundaberg."
Cr Dempsey said there was no excuse for what happened.
"This was a racially motivated attack and there is no place for racism in our community," he said.
"Coronavirus doesn't discriminate between people and neither should we discriminate in our care and compassion for fellow human beings."
Cr Dempsey also gave Ms Jeong a book with an embedded symbolism of goodwill.
"I presented her with a book in Korean that was produced by students from Sogang University in Seoul, one of whom is an Australian whose dad works for council," he said.
"The book tells the personal stories of several people, along with their struggles and motivations in life, with a focus on healing."
Cr Dempsey said he hoped the message of healing would go far.
"On behalf of the Bundaberg region community, I apologise to this impressive young lady for her dreadful experience and wish her well for the future," he said.
A police spokeswoman confirmed a juvenile has been charged in relation to the offence and will face court.