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Restaurant owner assaulted

PUBLISHED: 10:15 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:26 05 July 2010

A restaurant owner feared for his life when three thugs subjected him to a vicious attack before setting fire to his new business.

Rokon Ahmed Choudhury, 34, needed hospital treatment following his terrifying ordeal at the Raj Moni Indian restaurant in High Street, Lowestoft, which is due to open next week.

A restaurant owner feared for his life when three thugs subjected him to a vicious attack before setting fire to his new business.

Rokon Ahmed Choudhury, 34, needed hospital treatment following his terrifying ordeal at the Raj Moni Indian restaurant in High Street, Lowestoft, which is due to open next week.

Mr Choudhury's blood was splattered around the passageway between the restaurant and kitchen as two of the men rained punches down on him and cut his wrist with a broken wine bottle.

They also smashed a smoke alarm as the ringleader started fires in the kitchen and basement, which were successfully battled by firefighters before too much damage was caused.

Mr Choudhury, who recently moved from London, speculated that the attack may have been carried out by people unhappy at him opening a new business in the town after they said they would injure him to stop him cooking.

He said: “I thought I was going to die; I thought my world had finished. I don't know why they did it. Perhaps it was to do with my business, but I haven't caused any harm to people.”

Mr Choudhury, who hopes to move his wife and young daughter to Lowestoft in the near future, was working in his kitchen at about 6pm on Monday when an Asian man came to the door and asked if he could look around the restaurant, formerly known as the Curry House.

Mr Choudhury did not think it was strange because he had been placing advertising leaflets around the town earlier in the evening.

He took the visitor into the restaurant where they were joined by two other men, who launched the attack while the ringleader started the fires and turned on the cooker's gas valves.

“One of the men used a hammer to smash the smoke alarm and I asked him what he was doing. He had a knife and told me to stop talking,” said Mr Choudhury. “They tried to hit me over the head with a wine bottle, which smashed and was used to cut my arm. They then kicked me in the leg and I fell over.”

Mr Choudhury, who comes from Bangladesh, was taken by ambulance to the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, where he had six stitches put in his arm wound before being released.

A police spokesman said officers were following up several lines of inquiry.

The Asian suspect is of medium height and build, in his late 20s to mid 30s, with short dark hair and was wearing a white shirt and brown jacket. The other two men are black, in their mid 20s to 30s, of medium build, with short dark hair.

Call Lowestoft CID on 01986 835300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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