An overseas Vietnamese student is still in critical condition more than a week after being beaten up by a group of youngsters in Melbourne on December 26.
Doctor Patrick Dang said 19- year-old Vu Ngoc Minh's brain injuries will take a long time to heal.
Minh's cardiovascular system is stable but the doctors need to watch his brain closely, doctors of the Royal Melbourne Hospital told the Tuoi Tre newspaper on Tuesday (January 4).
The Melbourne crime investigation unit is still clueless about the reasons for the attack.
On December 26, Minh, a student of Deakin University's Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology, was beaten up at the corner of Bourke and Swanton in Melbourne.
Minh's friend, Le Thanh Tung, said they were shopping when a group of Asian-Australians insulted them. The duo requested store security to call the police but were let down.
Tung and Minh were followed even after they split up to go in separate directions. Tung said he defended himself with his belt when he was threatened with a knife.
Not far away, another group of about six young men brutally attacked Minh, Tung said, adding that his calls for help got no response.
"He was conscious when I found him. He said his head hurt and he was cold." Minh slipped into unconsciousness in the ambulance, on his way to the hospital.
Richmond police, who started the investigation, transferred the case to the Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit. Initial investigations found that the young men were Asian-Australians but it is unclear why they attacked Tung and Minh, police said.
Vu Ngoc Diep, a cousin who is in touch with Minh's parents in Melbourne, said on January 3 that Minh was beginning to show some response.
"When his mother held his hand and told him to grasp hers, Minh did it," he told the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper. "He also attempted to open his eyes." The parents flew to Australia on December 31 after receiving news of the attack.
Tung is afraid their attackers may return. He said he keeps looking over his shoulder even though he is always accompanied by friends.
Overseas students in Australia have called for a thorough investigation and better security.
According to the Deakin University Vietnamese Student Association (DEVISE), Minh regularly participates in student activities and has never been involved in fights.
The association has donated money to support Minh's family and has launched an online petition to call for the safety for overseas students in Australia, at www.petitiononline.com/safetyoz/pet ition.html.
The petition, which was also sent to the Australian government, said: "We, the overseas students come to Australia with the hope of gaining valuable knowledge for a brighter future. One of the main reasons for choosing this country is because we love Australia.
"In return, we should be assured of protection by the police and authorities. As we are living thousand miles far from our beloved country and families, we always feel to be endangered."