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Brick assault on Belfast tour bus traumatises Chinese visitors

By Allan Preston

Published 04/08/2016

The damage to the tourist bus
The damage to the tourist bus

A brick attack on a bus carrying Chinese tourists visiting Belfast has been condemned as the work of thugs.

The rear window of the private minibus was smashed around 4.45pm yesterday as it drove past Divis tower in west Belfast.

No one was injured in the incident, but the passengers who had arrived by private jet that morning were too upset to continue their tour and spent their first night in Belfast back at the hotel.

Coach driver Mark Coulter was also badly shaken when he was threatened by four male youths when he stopped the vehicle near St Peter's Cathedral.

"I feel terrible for them, and it's disgraceful for the country for it to happen," Mr Coulter told the BBC.

"We're trying to bring tourists in, to bring money back into the country, and these things put people off."

Ryan McComb, director of McComb's Coach Travel, said the firm would now be avoiding the area on future tours.

"Customer safety is what we're concerned about, this is the worst thing that can happen, especially when you get high-profile tourists in like that," he said.

"It's not the first time it's happened, I think other companies have experienced the same, and it's soul-destroying."

He added: "It's so expensive, our coaches are all top of the range, each time this happens you're usually into a couple of thousand pounds for repairs.

"It's just thugs. If one of those people had been sitting at the window they could have been pretty badly hurt. There's no need for it, and it's not doing us any favours here, when tourists come and this happens to them."

"My driver was shaken up - bad enough with that happening, and then the four guys having a go at him. He was downbeat and concerned.

"Hopefully the tourists have calmed down now, but it won't be a good talking point for them tonight, I'm sure."

Police in west Belfast are investigating the attack.

Inspector David McBride said: "Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing and I would ask anyone with any information to contact officers at Woodbourne on 101 quoting reference 884, August 3."

  • Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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