Police make eight arrests over racial abuse of Son Heung-min in Man Utd clash
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Police have arrested eight men following an investigation into a torrent of online racist abuse directed at Tottenham star Son Heung-min during their clash with Manchester United last month.
Four other men were interviewed under caution over "suspicion of using words or behaviour, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred".
The Metropolitan Police launched their investigation after Son was subjected to racist abuse on Twitter during Spurs' 3-1 Premier League defeat at home to United on April 11.
The messages were first detected by United's own online reporting tool before being flagged to police in Manchester.
Police then worked closely with national colleagues, social media companies and both of the football clubs involved to identify the anonymous users and track them down.
Detective Sergeant Matt Simpson from the Met’s public order crime team said: "This action makes it abundantly clear that police will not stand for racist thuggery, even if it is committed online.
"The posts, all of which were on Twitter, were vulgar and were utterly unacceptable. There is no safe haven for this type of abusive behaviour and we are committed to taking decisive action to root it out."
“With a busy summer of football approaching we are committed to driving out this type of racist behaviour – it has no place in football.
"I am delighted with the support we have received from our policing colleagues nationally and from Manchester United and Tottenham. Without them, it would be difficult to identify these users and take action.”
Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett says the arrests "send a powerful message that online abuse is unacceptable and those found guilty will face real-life consequences".
"Social media has become a vehicle for inappropriate behaviour on a societal level and certain people think it’s okay to send abusive messages. We have to make sure we create an environment where online abuse is punished and that the perpetrators are identified as much as possible," Burnett added.
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"These arrests demonstrate the police’s commitment to tackling online abuse and we hope this sends a message to others so they think twice before posting discriminatory abuse.
"It’s also important that we remain focused on the welfare of those who play, watch and work in football, and receive abuse, and we will continue to offer our support to those who need it."
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