Robbery rather than racial motive for attack on Chinese nationals in Cork, gardaí believe

A man and two women were hospitalised after violent break-in in city centre

Gardaí believe that robbery rather than any racial issue was the motive behind a violent break-in and attack on three Chinese people in Cork which left all three victims needing hospital treatment for serious injuries.

Two men burst into the two-storey house at Millerd Street linking Bachelor Quay with Henry Street near the Mercy University Hospital in the city centre at around 6am on Wednesday morning and attacked the three occupants, a man and two women, all Chinese nationals and all in their 30s.

It’s understood that the man came downstairs when he heard intruders, and he was attacked and struck repeatedly with either an iron bar or a baseball bat as the men demanded money before going upstairs where they assaulted the two women again with their weapons.

“The whole incident probably lasted less than five minutes but it was a shockingly violent attack particularly given that the victims offered no resistance and were fully compliant with their demands for money, but they kept beating them,” said a Garda source.


The victims managed to raise the alarm after the intruders left and the emergency services attended at the scene before the three were removed to Cork University Hospital where they were treated for lacerations to the face and head, broken ribs, and a broken arm.

Gardaí from the Bridewell began an investigation and detectives spoke to the three injured parties in hospital. but it’s understood that the three – two of whom are students and one of whom is working – have limited English, and gardaí plan to return to interview with the aid of an interpreter.

Gardaí don’t believe that there was any racial motive to the attack and that the intruders’ aim was simply to get money. They are considering the possibility that the gang mistakenly thought they were targeting a brothel.

“One line of inquiry that we are looking at is whether the gang thought – wrongly – that there was a brothel in the house because there had been some prostitution going on in a house down Millerd Street some time ago and they may have gone in thinking they were going to get a lot of coin.”

Gardaí spent much of Wednesday harvesting CCTV footage from surrounding apartment blocks and some commercial premises in the area in the hope of being able to identify the culprits or any car that they may have used to arrive at the house and later make their getaway after the break-in.

“It’s very early days yet and there was a lot of leg work done yesterday to harvest as much CCTV as possible – this really was an extremely violent robbery so we spent some time as well looking at who do we know who would be capable of such violence, so we have a number of lines to follow up on.”

Gardaí have conducted door-to-door enquiries in the area, and they also sealed off the house and garda technical experts spent several hours on Wednesday examining the scene for DNA evidence that might help them identify who was responsible for the attack.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the Millerd St area or surrounds between 5.30am and 6.30am on Wednesday, or for anyone with information about the incident, to contact them at Bridewell Garda station in Cork on 021-494 3330.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times