Dublin riots: 'I thought I was going to die'

Asian shop workers were assaulted with chairs and bottles by a group of up to 20 men during the Love Ulster disturbances


Ganbold Khosbayar from Mongolia was working in the Centra newsagent on Westland Row in the early afternoon of Saturday, 25 February when he noticed a man in his mid-30s in the off-licence at the back of the shop. “He took some big bottles of Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer from the fridge. I asked him to pay in the off licence, but he said he'd pay up the front. But he put the bottles in his pockets and walked out without paying,” he says.

Ganbold Khosbayar pursued the man and confronted him outside the shop. “I approached the robber and demanded the bottles back. He threatened me, and then somebody hit me on the head with the big bottle. The bottle shattered and bits of glass went into my ear and shoulder. I took one bottle and then ran back to the shop.”

Then two Centra colleagues, Robert Hu and Ze (also known as Louis) Wang, both from China, came out of the shop to help Ganbold Khosbayar. Two small groups of youths attacked them individually. “They were hitting Louis very hard with metal chairs and a shop sign. They weren't trying to steal anything from them. He was getting kicked. He was on the ground,” says Ganbold Khosbayar. “I approached Louis and then somebody smashed my head with a metal chair. There was lots of blood.”

Ze Wang says, “I went out and some men outside the shop just started fighting with me. They didn't say anything... They got me on the ground. They were hitting me, but I didn't know with what. I couldn't hear anything, and I didn't feel any pain. It was a terrible day. I thought I was going to die.”
“We were lying on the ground when we heard a lady shouting at them to stop, and then they left us,” says Robert Hu.

None of the Centra employees recognised the men who assaulted them, and they do not believe the attack was racially motivated. Both Ganbold Khosbayar and Ze Wang required facial stitches for their injuries. The Garda are investigating the incident.

John Byrne