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Indian students' cars torched in Australia

A group of international students, mostly Indians, in the Australian city of Adelaide are living in constant fear after a gang fire-bombed three of their cars on Tuesday, the latest incident in a series of continuing attacks that have damaged 12 cars in three months.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2010 11:27 IST

A group of international students, mostly Indians, in the Australian city of Adelaide are living in constant fear after a gang fire-bombed three of their cars on Tuesday, the latest incident in a series of continuing attacks that have damaged 12 cars in three months.

The students, who live in a block of 13 South Australian Student Housing Association units in Greenacres, say the early morning fire-bomb attack has left them worried.

Adelaide Now quoted Yasif Multani, 28, as saying that a group of up to 15 local teenagers were believed to be responsible for the string of attacks.

Two vehicles owned by Multani were torched in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He said the attacks had led to more than 12 cars being damaged in the past three months, mail being stolen from letter boxes, racist graffiti being painted and garbage bins being emptied on the streets.

Car windscreens have also been smashed in the complex and one night a couch on a veranda was set ablaze.

Multani said a friend of his saw a teenager on a bicycle throw a petrol bomb through the windscreen of a car early Tuesday.

"These people know when we are here and when we are working. They watch us. They know everything we do. They know which cars are ours and they have not damaged the cars of non-international students parked in this area.

"People are scared. At night time (the offenders) are banging on the doors and running away, and fires have been lit close to some units," Multani was quoted as saying.

Superintendent Barry Lewis, officer in charge of the Holden Hill Local Service Area, said: "This is very concerning."

"There are some youths living nearby in that area creating a bit of an issue - three of them are already in custody.

"We have had an operation running in the area and since this has happened overnight, we have the tactical team back in operation to work out who the offenders are and bring them in."

He, however, said he didn't believe the attacks were racially motivated.

"The fact there are people with overseas names listed as owners of those cars does not mean that it was racially motivated."

The media report quoted another resident as saying that the attacks were "clearly racially motivated".

"On the same street there are around five to 10 other cars parked at night times, but it is always only the cars of international students which are attacked," the student said.