Attack victim appeals to immigration minister

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Minh Duong was almost beaten to death by neo-Nazis on a Melbourne street and with the help of a good Samaritan, was planning to travel to Vietnam to see his family for the first time since the race-hate attack.

But Immigration Department officials have cancelled his student visa.

Minh is now stranded in Vietnam after being accused of overstaying his visa and banned from returning to Australia for three years.

Gang attack victim Minh Duong in hospital.

Gang attack victim Minh Duong in hospital. Photo: Supplied

Minh’s good Samaritan, piano teacher Adrian De Luca, has started a petition on change.org which already has more than 13,000 signatures calling on Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to urgently intervene and allow the 23-year-old to return to Melbourne to complete his final year of study.

Minh’s visa was valid until March 14 this year and he had the necessary documents required to seek an extension – normally considered a formality.

Minh, who was studying for an advanced diploma of accounting at Swinburne University, was attacked on an Ascot Vale street in June 2012 by three members of a neo-Nazi gang.

He was punched, kicked, stabbed and had a brick smashed over his head with such force the brick broke in two.

Minh, who a judge said was almost unrecognisable as a human being after the bashing, suffered multiple cuts to the head, face and body; a fractured skull; a torn left cheek and lip requiring stitches and plastic surgery; stab wounds to the left forearm and lower back; the loss of several front teeth and numerous crooked teeth which required realignment or removal.

He needed facial reconstructive surgery and continues to receive treatment, particularly in relation to his jaw and dental problems.

Mr De Luca, who has helped Minh’s recovery by teaching him the piano, organised to travel to Vietnam with Minh to visit his family for the first time since the bashing.

They were at Melbourne airport last Wednesday checking in when confronted by Immigration officials who claimed Minh’s student visa had expired.

“Minh was ordered to get on the plane straight away and told he was banned from coming to Australia for three years,” Mr De Luca said.

“This is a shocking and cruel way to treat a young man who was subjected to unimaginable violence on the streets of Melbourne.

“I’m shocked and ashamed that our government could treat him this way. Minh simply wants to return to Melbourne, where his brother still lives, and complete his final year of study. That’s not much to ask, given the appalling things that have happened to him.”

Mr De Luca said he tried to explain how Minh had been a victim of crime and was lucky to be alive but the immigration officer’s response was: “He looks fine to me.”

A Supreme Court judge described the attack by a former member of a neo-Nazi gang and two accomplices on Minh as “deplorable”, “brutal” and “unprovoked”.

Minh was on his way home from his part-time job at a 7-Eleven when his attackers pounced.

The group, which included a 17-year-old, began punching and kicking Minh in the head, face and body. They taunted him and yelled things including “you f—ing Gook” and “lie down you dog, you yellow dog” as Minh begged for his life.

Supreme Court Justice Betty King, when jailing attackers Shannon Hudson and Wayne O’Brien, said Minh was “terrified and believed he was going to be beaten to death”.

Speaking to Fairfax Media from Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, Minh said that despite everything that had happened to him he still felt Australia was his second home.

Minh, who continues to have difficulty speaking after the savage attack, said all he wanted to do was to return to Melbourne to finish his studies and see his brother.

He said he felt ‘‘a bit sad and troubled’’ by the decision to ban him from travelling to Australia after all that he had endured.

‘‘I don’t know what I did wrong,’’ Minh said.

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Attack victim appeals to immigration minister

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