'Nazi' attacks indigenous woman and her daughter in Australia with an improvised flamethrower
A composite image of the attacker with a white swastika painted backwards on his forehead was released
A manhunt is underway after a swastika-adorned man using an improvised flame thrower attacked an Aboriginal woman and her daughter in Australia.
On Tuesday, police in Perth, Western Australia released a composite image of the man with a white Nazi symbol painted backwards on his face at the time of the attack.
The man was also captured by surveillance cameras in the area, which were dressed almost entirely in black with the exception of an oversized red tie that was adorned with several white swastikas.
At around 6:20 p.m. on Saturday in Perth's southern suburb, Gosnells, the attacker approached the 40-year-old woman and her 15-year-old daughter and shouted racist abuse before spraying fire on them with a deodorant can and a cigarette lighter.
The woman suffered minor burns on her arm and the attacker fled on foot.
Detective Senior Sergeant Sean Bell of the State Security Investigation Group said police viewed the attack as racially motivated and described the attack as "cruel".
Det. Snr. Sgt. Bell said the flamethrower attack was "accidental and cowardly" and targeted a mother and daughter who were "just going about their daily business."
"The potential for serious injury was definitely there. It was just lucky he wasn't close enough to do it," he said.
“Any attack on a mother and daughter who is just going about their legitimate business and trying to have dinner is cruel ... If you add the racist element, it will certainly not be tolerated by society and we treat it very much , very seriously .
Det. Snr. Sgt. Bell added that all available resources have been allocated to track down the man.
"Someone in the community knows who this person is and we ask the community member to contact us and help identify that person," he said at a media conference on Tuesday.
Police said there was nothing at the time that could link the man to any particular neo-Nazi gang or white supremacist group, but the investigation is ongoing.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) warned in its 2019-2020 annual report that the 2019 Christchurch attack "continues to be inspired by right-wing extremists worldwide".
“These groups are also becoming ideological: They are more aware of specific dogmas, philosophies and views and are committed to ... The Covid-19 pandemic has been used by right-wing extremists and themed extremists to promote their views.
"They are trying to take advantage of social and economic turmoil. Their extremist ideology has spread faster and more widely as Australians spend more time online with like-minded people."
The report also found that right-wing extremists made up around a third of all ASIO counterterrorism investigators over the 2019-20 period.
Perth was the home of the infamous Australian Nationalist Movement, which burned five Asian-family businesses and bombed another in 1988 and 1989.
In 1990 the leader of the ANM, Jack van Tongren, who openly used fascist images and slogans, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for 53 offenses.
He was released in 2002, and in 2004 three Chinese restaurants in Perth were set on fire and fascist posters were posted on synagogues and shops belonging to families of Asian descent.
Mr van Tongren received a two-year prison sentence in connection with these attacks, with a suspended sentence based on a provision that he should leave the state of Western Australia. Its movement was disbanded in 2007.
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