Abuse & Assault At Cineworld Wandsworth

Row erupts over showing of Tamil film

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Anyone with any information should contact the unit on 020 8247 5432 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to remain anonymous.

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Police are appealing for any witnesses or information to an incident in a Wandsworth cinema on the evening of Friday 24th October, in which an audience was verbally abused and two men were assaulted.

Two men in their 20s arrived at the Cineworld Cinema, Southside Shopping Centre, SW18, about 9.20pm. They were approached at the ticket desk by a group of men, of Asian appearance, who tried to persuade them not to see the Tamil film "Aegan".

One suspect started talking about Sri Lanka and Indian politics, objecting to the political views of an actor in the film but the 25 year old man said he was not interested. A second suspect tried showing them an article and then stood in the way of them getting to the counter to buy their tickets.

He warned them that they should not take the matter so lightly and should not watch the film. Both victims bought tickets for the film as they had family waiting for them in the screening room. The suspects walked away.

The film started at 9.30pm - about ten minutes into the film, two or three men came into the cinema and started shining lights into peoples' faces. After a few minutes, the group left but returned again, shouting at the audience, continuing to shine lights into faces, intimidating them and demanding that everyone left as the film was over.

There were about 65 people watching the film, including families; some children started to cry and people started to get up and leave in fear for their safety.

The group of suspects was moving around the room and a fight began. One victim, aged in his twenties, was punched in the face, causing a gash to his left temple. Another man in his twenties was also assaulted. The group left the cinema in an unknown direction and the victims alerted staff. They were later treated for minor injuries but did not go to hospital.

The incident is being investigated by Wandsworth Community Safety Unit. DI Mark Cranwell said the incident had created a great deal of fear and should not be underestimated.

Anyone with any information should contact the unit on 020 8247 5432 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to remain anonymous.

November 4, 2008