Gardaí are investigating an alleged assault on two Chinese men in their 20s in Cork city. 

The two were allegedly attacked by a number of teenagers at Pearse Road, Ballyphehane, on Saturday 8 August.

Gardaí are investigating reports that the two men were racially abused before being physically assaulted.

Both were treated at Cork University Hospital.

In a statement issued today, gardaí said they were following a definite line of inquiry.

One of the men, Martin Hong, described to RTÉ's News at One that he lost a tooth, his nose was bleeding and his eyes "severely" bruised during an attack in Cork over a week ago.

Mr Hong said he and his friend were out grocery shopping when they became aware of a group of three young people.

He said: "They were talking about the 'Chinese virus'. When we asked them to repeat what they said they started laughing at us, making fun of us and raising their middle finger to us."

Mr Hong said his friend, Arthur Ma, tried to film what was happening, but he said some of the young people started to do the same, "trying to make it look like we were saying bad things about Ireland", he said.

He said: "We tried to reason with them, but then one guy punched me on the neck, and the second hit me on the nose. Both of my eyes are severely bruised and my nose was bleeding.

"I lost one of my teeth and I was unconscious for one or two minutes."

Mr Hong said another member of the group assaulted his friend.

He said: "We had passed out but an old lady called the police and we were taken to hospital."

Mr Hong said he and his friend spent several hours in hospital while examinations were carried out.

He said he has visited a dental clinic twice to have his tooth fixed, but he said treatment so far is only temporary and added: "I stayed at home for a week while I tried to recover mentally."

Mr Hong has been in Ireland for more than a year and has previously suffered racial abuse, but he said this was the first time he was physically attacked.

He said one of the most shocking instances he has experienced recently is being verbally abused by toddlers.

Mr Hong said: "Since this pandemic began to affect the Irish community the first racism comment I received were from toddlers. 

"They just learned how to speak and they already can mention racially abusing things to me and they were just kids.

"That's the most shocking part."