Police have launched a hate crime investigation after a 17-year-old boy was brutally beaten by a gang after revealing he was an asylum seeker.
The Kurdish Iranian refugee was in a critical condition in hospital after the attack, which took place in Croydon, South London.
Police believe eight people approached the boy as he sat at a bus stop with friends outside a pub in the Shrublands area.
DS Kris Blamires from Croydon CID said: “It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack.
“He has sustained critical head and facial injuries as a result of this attack which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.
“A number of people came to the aid of the victim as he lay unconscious and injured following the assault.”
DS Blamires said the suspects fled after the attack. He encouraged witnesses and bystanders who came to aid of the boy to contact the police.
Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell described the attackers as "scum".
He told the Press Association: "I think most people in Croydon will be as appalled as I am that what appears to have happened is a young man who came to this country seeking sanctuary has apparently been targeted because of his ethnic background.
"It's an appalling crime and I hope the people responsible are caught quickly and receive the full force of British justice."
He said Croydon, a very diverse community, generally had "very good relations between people of different backgrounds".
"This is completely out of character but that is no comfort to the individual who is fighting for his life now," he added.
“All communities stand together against hate and we would ask anyone with any information to come forward immediately,” DS Blamires added.
The boy’s friends escaped the attack and suffered only minor injuries.
No one has yet been arrested and enquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with information can call Croydon CID on 0203 276 2234 or 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.