An employee of the British National Health Service (NHS) was seriously injured after confronting three passengers on a London Underground with the fact that they were not wearing masks, which is required by law.
His eye socket was fractured in three places after he was thrown off the train after repeated blows, which also broke his jaw.
The incident began when the NHS worker approached the group of two men and one woman to ask them why they were not wearing masks on public transport. This led to an argument before the violence began.
“One of the men in the group then struck the victim several times in the side of the head before throwing him off the train onto the platform at High Street Kensington station,” according to a statement by the British Transport Police (BTP). “The group remained on the platform as it left the station.
The incident, which occurred on October 3 at about 10pm London time, is only now coming to light because British traffic police are asking for information about the incident and are publishing a photograph of someone they want to talk to.
It is a white man with short blond hair wearing a suit. He is said to have been carrying an umbrella. The BTP has asked for help in finding this man.
“If you recognize him or have any information, please contact the BTP by sending an SMS to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 50 40 and giving the reference number 2000068891,” a statement said. “Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111.”
This is not the first time that disagreements have turned into violence. In Bournemouth in southern England, a bus driver was kicked to the ground and hit on the head after refusing to let a man without a face cover get into the vehicle.
Police have also reported that a train passenger was attacked near Slough in the outskirts of London. He was thrown to the ground with a headbutt and repeatedly hit in the face after asking a passenger to wear a face cover.
Although more than 100,000 people were stopped for not following the face cover rules, relatively few fines were imposed for disregarding the order, with the BTP stating that they were only used as a last resort. Exact figures are not publicly available, but it was reported that only about 50 fines were imposed throughout the UK.
There were a number of examples of politicians disregarding the mask rules, with Conservative MP Danny Kruger “forgetting” to put on his mask during a one-hour train journey to London. This happened days after he posted on Facebook that his voters “must wear a face mask” unless they were exempt.