STOP ATTACKS: After employees of Mehfil Indian restaurant were abused and bashed in the mall, Mehfil owner Raj Sharma wants something done.
STOP ATTACKS: After employees of Mehfil Indian restaurant were abused and bashed in the mall, Mehfil owner Raj Sharma wants something done. Sarah Harvey

Gutless thugs attack staffers walking home

THE racial abuse and now violent attack on two Mehfil Indian Restaurant staff in the Ipswich CBD is a recurring problem that must be addressed.

That is the word from Ipswich businessman and restaurant owner Raj Sharma, who was himself stabbed in the head with a syringe in Ipswich last year.

Two of his staff members were savagely beaten, stabbed and racially abused by two youths in an attempted armed robbery in the Ipswich CBD on Friday night.

A 16 and 17 year old boy were charged with attempted armed robbery in company and assault occasioning bodily harm.

The 16-year-old, also charged with possession of a knife in public, will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

The 17-year-old appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court over the weekend. 

At 9.45pm on Friday night 28-year-old Mehfil chef Tinku was walking along Nicholas St talking on his phone when he was approached by the two boys.

Mr Sharma said the boys demanded Tinku's phone and when he protested, the 16-year-old produced a knife.

Tinku called for help and restaurant manager Jason, 30, came running to his aid. A physical altercation ensued between the men and the boys.

The restaurant manager was stabbed in the shoulder while the chef received facial and internal injuries.

Both men were subsequently treated at Ipswich Hospital.

"One of my chefs walked from my restaurant towards the mall at 9.45pm," Mr Sharma said

"Then two guys started racially abusing him and told him to hand over his phone.

"Then they started bashing him and pulled a knife.

"He started yelling 'help, help'."

Mr Sharma said a security guard in the mall "did nothing".

"My manager was having dinner in the outside veranda area of the restaurant with his wife and heard the cries and ran to help... and was stabbed three or four times.

"My chef was on the ground and my manager was fighting these two guys.

"My manager's wife, who is eight months heavily pregnant, ran to the scene and cried 'help, help' but nobody helped.

"She called the police and the police came very quickly and apprehended both guys."

"My chef was very badly bashed and has facial and internal injuries. He was on the ground and kept putting his feet up so the knives missed. But my manager was stabbed."

Mr Sharma praised the swift response of police and a good Samaritan who assisted his staff.

"There was a guy named Adam who saw what was happening and parked his car. He ran to the scene and helped my guys and helped police apprehend the two youths," Mr Sharma said.

Mr Sharma said it was "quite common that my staff get racially abused by teenagers on Thursday and Friday evening".

"They are called curry munchers and Indian this and that. It is common practice," he said.

"I was myself stabbed in the head with a syringe in front of the restaurant last year.

"My staff feel very insecure. They have to leave for the car park in groups at night."

Mr Sharma reiterated that the problem was not confined to Ipswich and that it was only a minority in society creating the problems.

He said the Ipswich community had rallied behind his staff with phone calls and social media messages.

"We have been warmed by the support we have had from the Ipswich community," Mr Sharma said.

"I had a coffee with the mayor (on Sunday morning) and he has contacted my staff and sent flowers.

"This incident is not a bad reflection on Ipswich, but the problem needs to be addressed.

"It is only a small segment of society, but the most disturbing part is that they are teenagers.

"We need to educate these kids about harmony and that they can't abuse people like that."

Mr Sharma said his head chef was walking home recently when a group of youths demanded his wallet.

He was forced to hand over his jacket and shoes.

"So he walked home bare-foot," Mr Sharma said.

Mr Sharma said the two victims were taken to hospital, but were discharged on Saturday.

He said they were both shaken, but heartened by the support they had received.

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