Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gang Made Life a Misery with Abuse; Takeaway Boss Speaks after Sentencing for Hitting Teen

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gang Made Life a Misery with Abuse; Takeaway Boss Speaks after Sentencing for Hitting Teen

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORGAN; GARETH LIGHTFOOT

AN EMBATTLED Teesside Chinese takeaway owner today told how he "snapped" after a two-year hell of disgusting racial abuse, violent attacks and damage to his Eston shop. Xiaogang Shi, 36, owner of the Gourmet Palace on Eston Square, described the constant torment meted out by a large gang of up to 30 youths, some aged as young as 11.

He said they lugged a stone through his shop window, threw balls of hard ice and eggs inside his shop, put off customers and insulted him with racial slurs which, he said, really upset him.

Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday that eventually, after years of torment and abuse from mocking gangs of youths, he hit a teenager's head with a wheel brace, cutting the 15-year-old's scalp.

Shi, a father-of-one of Columbia Street, Darlington, was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year with supervision.

Shi, of previous good character, admitted the January 11 actual bodily harm assault.

He said he had swung the brace while trying to get rid of the youths.

He said he had the brace for his protection as he thought youths carried weapons, and didn't intend to hit anyone.

Joan Smith, defending, said Shi came to England in 2000 and was untroubled until he set up shop in Eston in 2008.

Judge Brian Forster QC warned the courts had a duty to deter people from brandishing and using weapons.

But he acknowledged that Mr Shi felt vulnerable as youths targeted his shop and made his life a misery.

He said: "Anyone hearing the history of torment and distress can only understand your frustration," he added.

After the case, Mr Shi told the Gazette: "I deeply regret hitting the youth. But this provocation went on for nearly two years.

"Previously, I had a similar takeaway at Darlington and had no trouble with that. But as soon as I opened my shop in Eston, there was a problem. …

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