Man dies in suspected 'knockout game'

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The unsolicited attack happened in central Pisa. Photo: Argenberg/Flickr
12:51 CEST+02:00
A man has died in Pisa after being punched in the head while walking in the city centre in an attack characteristic of the so-called ‘knockout game’, a vicious street-game craze that originated in the US, whereby passers-by are punched for the fun of it.

Zakir Hoassini, a waiter from Bangladesh, died on Tuesday “after 24 hours of agony” following the unsolicited attack, Il Gazzettino reported.

The murder has caused uproar among Pisa’s Bangladeshi community, who rallied on Tuesday night in the area of the attack, demanding “truth and justice”, the newspaper said.

An estimated 1,500 people, including the Bangladeshi ambassador, are planning to march on Friday.

Police are said to be “close to finding the attacker”, who they believe is a young Italian man with a “hefty” physique, the website Blitz Quotidiano reported.

Surrounded by three friends, the attacker was caught on surveillance camera provoking Hoassini, a father of three, and then punching him, Blitz Quotidiano reported.

The gang, thought to be aged between 25 and 35, then fled.

One theory is that the gang was playing ‘knockout’, a game that has swept across the US, claiming the lives of several people, with the point being to knock out the unsuspecting with a single punch.

If so, it would be the first attack of its kind in Italy.

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Hoassini had been in Italy since 2009 and was a waiter in an Indian restaurant for the past two years.

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