Thugs take photo of bashed student
MALICIOUS and twisted assailants took a photo of a Tweed Heads student so they would have “something to remember him by” after leaving him bloodied outside Coolangatta Police Station.
Sachin Surendran, 22, said he fears for his safety after being attacked by two men last Tuesday about 10.30pm while using a pay phone in McLean Street, across the road from the police station.
After being bashed and robbed, Mr Surendran fled to the station looking for help.
But he was chased down and dragged into the connecting car park where he was bashed with a tree branch, stabbed in the face with his own car key and threatened with his life in an attack that left him with five stitches around his right eye.
“They made me sit down after they first bashed me and took a photo of my face with their mobile phone,” Mr Surendran said.
“One of them said it was so they would have something to remember what I look like so they could kill me if I went to the police.”
The Southern Cross University student said the thought of a commemorative photo of his bashing was a haunting act.
“I am very scared about what they did and said. I can't believe something like this happened outside a police station,” he said.
Mr Surendran was on the pay phone to his mother in Kerala, India, at the time when the two men approached him and demanded his money.
“I just looked at them because they were standing around acting strange and they then asked if I wanted to get 'dropped'. I told them I didn't want any trouble,” he said.
Mr Surendran surrendered $400 from his wallet, his mobile phone and his ATM card as well as the PIN number before they ripped his sentimental gold chain from his neck.
“When I gave them the PIN number they didn't believe it was real. That's when they both began to bash me and I tried to run to the police station,” he said.
Mr Surendran's roommate, Sumil Pulikathara, tried to call the 22-year-old after noticing he had been gone from their unit an unusual amount of time.
“Another man answered the phone and said if we wanted to see my friend I would have to meet him outside some convenience store in Griffith Street. I thought he had been kidnapped,” Mr Pulikathara, 29, said.
“We went there but no one was there. We then went to report it to the police where he happened to be.”
Mr Surendran said he tried two different doors at the police station before an officer inside answered.
A police report was filled out that night. Mr Surendran said he was furious the station was not open when he needed help.
The Coolangatta Police Station is open between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
“There is no point of having a police station if it's not always open,” Mr Surendran said.
Mr Surendran, who is of Indian descent, said he did not want to believe the attack was racially based.
“It could have happened to anyone,” he said. “But there needs to be someone in there 24 hours a day to avoid things like this from happening.
A Gold Coast Police media spokeswoman the Coolangatta Police Station operates 24 hours a day but is only manned between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
“There are patrols in the Coolangatta area outside office hours who go back to the station as needed,” the spokeswoman said. “Anyone who wants to speak to an officer outside those hours can use the blue phone outside the station which will connect them to the Broadbeach Communications Centre who will then contact the local officers.”
Mr Surendran also reported the incident to the Federation of Indian Students of Australia.