Teenagers racially abused on Knaresborough to York Train

3 February 2011

British Transport Police (BTP) investigators are appealing for witnesses after two teenage girls who were on an exchange programme from Hong Kong, were racially abused by a group of men onboard a train at the weekend.

PC Harry Thompson, the investigating officer, said the incident happened onboard the 9.14pm Knaresborough to York service on Saturday, 29 January and caused the girls great distress.

“A group of between 6-8 men boarded the service at Knaresborough and began singing songs. They then began saying racist comments towards two Chinese girls who were on the service at the time”

“The unprovoked abuse clearly left the girls, a 17-year-old from Harrogate, and a 16-year-old from Escrick, both exchange students studying in the area, feeling extremely intimidated and frightened”

“Racist abuse of any sort is unacceptable, but the nature of the insults levelled at the passengers in the carriage were despicable”

“Everyone has the right to go to travel without fear of abuse or threatening behaviour, and when that behaviour is further exacerbated by racist undertones, our stance becomes firmer still”

“BTP and the wider rail industry will not tolerate any form of racism on the rail network and we will do everything in our power to locate those responsible.”

Three men, a 56-year-old, a 50-year-old, and a 24-year-old, all from York, were arrested at York station and have been bailed until Sunday, 20 February pending further police enquiries.


If you have any information about this incident contact BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference B9 NEA 01/02/2011, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


  1. why don’t they have video surveillance on the trains. I see it at all locations in the main cities. It is here which is more important than anywhere else. If not during the day time when the trains are more crowded, atleast switch them on during the off peak hours. That would keep the mischief away.

  2. Disgraceful episode. They don’t have video surveillance on the trains for the same reason that the trains are at least 20 years older than anything in the South East of the country – they don’t care about public services in the North because politicians know that they will be voted in regardless. Until there is some possibilty that the lack of a decent public transport system will have electoral implications nothing will change. The reason that HS2 is being slow marched on its way to the long grass is becaause backbench tories are worried about losing votes in West London and Buckinghamshire. I travel a lot in the South East and a couple of weeks ago I bought a return train ticket from London to Brighton (100 miles round trip) for £6.50. If you want to know why it costs much more to travel between Leeds and Manchester it is because the public subsidies go to the South East.

  3. Recently witnessed a similar sort of thing on knaresborough to York train where a elderly white woman questioned an asian lady as to why she sat next to her when there were other empty seats but it was a busy rush hour train and a lot of people were standing. The woman moved and later a white woman sat next to the miserable woman but she didn’t dare say anything to her. Sorry to say that Knaresborough seems to be full of racist people. Surveillance can do nothing if elderly people can get away with it !

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