A teenage asylum seeker is in hospital with a fractured skull and blood clot on the brain after being beaten up by a gang in what police believe was a hate crime.
The 17-year-old Kurdish Iranian was waiting with two friends at a bus stop in Croydon, in southeast London, at about 11.40pm on Friday when he was approached by a group of eight people.
Detective Sergeant Kris Blamires said police understand that the group asked the boy where he was from and, when they heard he was an asylum seeker, they "chased him and launched a brutal attack" including "repeated blows to the head".
Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Croydon's borough commander, described the beating as "frenzied", adding that members of the public had asked the attackers to stop kicking the boy.
Only the sound of approaching police sirens stopped the attackers, who made off in the direction of The Goat pub in Broom Road.
The victim's two friends escaped with minor injuries but he was left unconscious on the ground, tended to by members of the public, and is now in a critical condition in hospital.
Sgt Blamires said: "All communities stand together against hate and we would ask anyone with any information to come forward immediately," he said.
Among those condemning the attack was Croydon Central's MP Gavin Barwell, who 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
"It's an appalling crime and I hope the people responsible are caught quickly and receive the full force of British justice."
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott suggested the Government had not done enough to tackle such crimes.
"Sadly this is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes that this Tory Government is yet to offer any effective response to", she said.
"With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate.
"We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society."
No arrests have been made, and police are urging any witnesses, including those who came to the boy's aid, to come forward by calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.