Vicious daylight attack in city centre leaves locals shocked, despite later apology from ringleader.
The unarmed victim repeatedly tried to fend off knifeman Striga with his bare hands. Picture: Agito
Four attackers led by 17 year old Valentin Striga - who has admitted his role - beat and kicked an 18 year old man, using a knife to cut his hair as he cowered on the snow in terror.
Striga admitted the reason for the attack in the Leninsky district of Novosibirsk was because 'there were rumours he was gay, and we wanted to make a normal man's haircut for him'.
The unarmed victim repeatedly tried to fend off knifeman Striga with his bare hands. The cell phone video made by the attackers was obtained by people appalled by their behaviour and posted on social media.
'We are not the thugs you may think we are watching this video. We just did stupid thing. Now we understand that we were not right.' Pictures: Agito
They said they wanted to highlight 'the lawlessness on our streets' on 7 January - Christmas Day in Russia - and declined requests from the attackers and their families to remove the footage.
'Many were infuriated by what they did and we decided to speak up because they have to be punished,' said the anonymous posters. 'We were threatened by these guys who demanded we remove the video. We declined.'
Striga has now apologised, and admitted he and his group did 'a stupid thing', but had the video not been posted online to shame the attackers, it is unclear if he would have made the same apology.
The victim has not been named. It is far from clear that he is gay, although for the thugs it was enough reason to stage their brutal attack that he might be. Picture: The Siberian Times
'We had some personal arguments (with the victim), we solved this all in words,' he said. 'But then I recalled that there were rumours that he was gay, and we wanted to make a normal man's haircut for him.
'And as a start, we suggested cutting the hair covering his forehead. It was an unplanned meeting, we had been walking around. I always have a knife with me - just to cut bread or sausages, it is not a weapon.
'I admit, I did wrong. But now my relatives are threatened by some people in social media. Do not touch my relatives, they are not guilty at all. Me and friends would like to apologise, and meet this guy...
17 year old Valentin Striga: 'Do not touch my relatives, they are not guilty at all.' Pictures: The Siberian Times
'I admit that I did wrong, that I did a stupid thing, but this is not the reason to threaten people close to me. My girlfriend is not guilty, but she is very frightened now. She fears to go out. I do not fear for myself, I fear for her.
'We are not the thugs you may think we are watching this video. We just did stupid thing. Now we understand that we were not right.'
The victim has not been named. It is far from clear that he is gay, although for the thugs it was enough reason to stage their brutal attack that he might be.
Police is reported to be checking the case.
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