A TEENAGE asylum seeker is fighting for his life after a "brutal attack" by a gang, who began beating him after asking him where he was from.

The 17-year-old was waiting at a bus stop with two friends in Croydon, southeast London, when he was set upon by around eight youths and left unconscious.

When he told them he was an asylum seeker they chased after him and launched their attack, including repeated blows to his head.

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Scotland Yard, which is treating the attack as a hate crime, said the boy suffered serious head injuries and is in a critical condition in hospital. His two friends escaped with minor injuries.

The attack happened around 11.40pm on Friday, and no arrests have been made.

Detective Sergeant Kris Blamires said: "It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from, and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack.

"He has sustained critical head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.

"A number of people came to the aid of the victim as he lay unconscious and injured following the assault."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott condemned the attack, saying: "Sadly this is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes that this Tory Government is yet to offer any effective response to.

"With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate."