Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Curry-bashing" ringleader jailed for murder

From The Age today:

JOHN Caratozzolo wanted a replacement mobile phone, and thought he would go ‘hustle’’ a ‘‘curry’’ to get it. Indian students, he told his friends, had better phones because they studied hard, had better jobs and more money. Caratozzolo got his phone, but he killed a man in the process and assaulted another. Yesterday, he was sentenced to a maximum of 15 years, with 10 years to be served before being eligible for parole.

The Department of Public Prosecutions is considering an appeal against the unusually low duration of the sentence.

Caratazzolo, now 20, was the ringleader of a gang of six responsible for two brutal attacks in Footscray in Melbourne's West in January 2008. It is because of this gang that the term "curry-bashing" entered the public lexicon. His first victim, respected academic Zhonjun Cao was attacked, picked up and dropped on his head. He may have already been dying by this point, but the final touch was Caratazzolo kicking him in the head so hard that he hurt his foot. Caratazzolo then walked off laughing. Mr Cao was Chinese and not Indian; it's not clear whether they mistook him for an Indian, or simply that these thugs weren't too fussy about who they set upon.
Their other victim that night was Mauritian man Binesh Mosaheb; he was bashed and robbed and consequently suffers from a twisted spinal cord.

There remains a code among most Australian males, even young guys for whom fighting is a normal activity, that to kick someone while their down is "a dog act". I've noticed what seems to be a marked increase recently in incidents involving people being kicked in the head while on the ground. Add that to the increase in stabbings and you get the picture that many who walk among us have no compunction about taking a life. Clearly, as in many other incidents, robbing the victim was not enough for Caratazzolo and his friends - it was the thrill of exerting power over another human being.

Robbings, bashings and pub brawls are nothing new in Melbourne, but the greater lethality in these attacks is a new thing. I hate to sound like an old person deriding today's young people, but we seem to have crossed a bridge into barbarity in recent years. Many countries have people who rob and steal, or who settle disagreements with violence, but here in this land of opportunity we are breeding young men who take another man's life just for something to do.

Below: murdered academic Zhonjun Cao

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