Police say a woman’s apology for a tirade of racist abuse towards Sydney train passengers is not enough, and she may face prosecution.
The woman was arrested on Thursday night and was being questioned at a central coast police station.
A video posted on YouTube emerged on Thursday morning showing a middle-aged woman abusing a man and a woman whom she calls “Asian” on a train heading north on the Newcastle and Central Coast line.
In the video she identifies herself as Sue Wilkins.
“He can’t even get a regular girlfriend, he’s got to get a gook,” Wilkins says to the man.
When the woman tries to defend herself, Wilkins makes fun of her accent before saying: “What’s wrong with Hong Kong? Why did you come to Australia?”
Wilkins told Ninemsn that she regretted the verbal attack and she was embarrassed by her behaviour.
“It’s not nice what I did to that lady,” Wilkins told Ninemsn.
“It wasn’t nice to say that to her because it’s not nice when people say that to me … call me white trash and fatso. I know how it hurts and I shouldn’t be saying it to other people.”
But NSW police assistant commissioner Max Mitchell told reporters on Thursday afternoon that police still wanted to speak with Wilkins and she should come forward.
“From a policing perspective we will thoroughly investigate this matter and the person responsible will be prosecuted,” he said.
Police had spoken to Wilkins when she got off the train at Strathfield after the incident at about 4pm on Wednesday afternoon, but at the time were not aware of the full details.
He said he did not know why police had spoken to her, but they ultimately let her continue her journey.
“Police patrolling from the local area command said they were there for another matter and were unaware of the full circumstances of this matter,” he said.
He said police had not spoken to Wilkins since.
In the video, Wilkins appears to be on the phone to police when she gives her name, apparently reporting the children who refused to give up their seat for her.
Mitchell said she could be charged with offensive behaviour, which carries a $500 fine.
“But also magistrates have the opportunity of taking into consideration the racially motivated context of this matter,” he said, which means the offence could carry a harsher penalty.
He urged witnesses to the incident to come forward.
The chief executive of Sydney Trains, Howard Collins, said after 36 years of running London’s train system, he had never seen “such [racist] behaviour like I’ve seen here”. – The Guardian (extract)