Police hunt for four men after ‘coward punch’ leaves teenager clinging to life

Cameron Atfield
Published: January 3, 2016 – 3:24PM

A team of detectives is scouring CCTV footage for four men believed to be responsible for an attack on a teenager that left him fighting for life in a Brisbane intensive care unit.

The 18-year-old man, from Highgate Hill, was walking towards Ann Street with a friend in the Chinatown Mall about 3.35am on Sunday when they were approached by the men.

It was one of two serious assaults in the Fortitude Valley entertainment precinct in the early hours of Sunday.

Detective Acting Inspector Tom Armitt said one of the men, described as Pacific islander in appearance and in his 20s, punched the teenager in what he described as a “random act of violence”.

“A short exchange has occurred and the victim was struck to the back of the head, has fallen forward and is currently in his present condition,” he said.

The young man’s condition was listed as critical in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

“We’ve got a young, 18-year-old man who’s fighting for his life,” Acting Inspector Armitt said.

“You obviously feel for that person, you feel for his family, but as far as police are concerned we’ll do our job as professionally as we can.”

Acting Inspector Armitt said a team of about 20 detectives was investigating the attack and there had been no suggestion the victim knew anybody in the group of men.

He said investigators were keeping an “open mind” about whether their paths had crossed earlier in the night.

Acting Inspector Armitt said the victim and his friend, a young man of a similar age, were wrapping up their night on the town.

“He was a young man who had been out for a night on the town, hadn’t caused any issues or any concerns,” he said.

“He was walking through the mall with the intent of catching a cab.”

Fortitude Valley, as with most CBD entertainment precincts, was well serviced by Brisbane City Council’s CitySafe cameras.

Acting Inspector Armitt said those cameras could prove crucial in the police investigation.

Police were confident there were no links between the attack and another incident at the nearby TBC club on Brunswick Street, an hour earlier at 2.35am, in which a 24-year-old Beenleigh man was attacked as he sat in a chair.

Acting Superintendent Peter Aitken said the man was struck across the face with a ceramic mug, but suffered only minor injuries.

“These are very isolated incidents, the two that have occurred today, and we have a lot of police conducting controls of these areas enforcing all the offences that may occur,” he said.

People with information about either assault were asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the 18-year-old victim was from Holland Park rather than the correct Highgate Hill.

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This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/police-hunt-for-four-men-after-coward-punch-leaves-teenager-clinging-to-life-20160103-glydbs.html

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