Chef allegedly bashed by 15 African youths
AS MANY as 15 youths wearing knuckledusters unleashed a cowardly attack on a chef at a St Kilda restaurant after he refused to hand over a cigarette.
Daniel Maetzing, 24, was smoking outside the popular Melbourne establishment Donovans, near Luna Park, on Thursday night when he was approached.
The youths, perceived to be of African appearance, kicked his phone out of his hand and then set upon him.
"I was punched at least 50 times and I just kept telling myself 'Stay on your feet or you are done for'," he told the Herald Sun. "They don't value other people's lives."
Mr Maetzing was left with bruises and cuts on his face and had to be rescued by colleagues, who were initially trapped inside the restaurant by the youths and not able to leave.
A short walk away, less than an hour later, a second man was approached by a group. He had a bottle smashed over his head and suffered a number of injuries.
Detective Sergeant David Schaefer told reporters on Friday that police were "desperate" to identify those responsible.
"These attacks are quite cowardly and vicious and unprovoked," he said.
Police believe the same youths are responsible for both attacks.
The Herald Sun reports restaurant and cafe owners along the esplanade have developed an action plan that has been presented to staff in case of future incidents.
St Kilda made headlines 11 months ago when out-of-control African youths clashed along the foreshore.
Dozens of youths clashed in wild brawls in December last year. Footage from bystanders showed men and women punching, kicking and screaming at each other as police struggled to intervene.
"They've committed crimes, they've been involved in a number of assaults on the foreshore of St Kilda," Inspector Jason Kelly told reporters at the time.
"Their behaviour was just totally unacceptable and I'd call on them to come forward and hand themselves in before we track them down."
Police say they are keen for the Port Phillip council to reinstate alcohol bans for the popular outdoor area in an effort to decrease crime.
Detectives want any witnesses to come forward, particularly if they have video or photos of the incidents.
If you have any information, you should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.