21 years old John Caratozzolo is a ring leader of a group of white young Australian who habitually makes fun by torturing randomly chosen Asian targets on the Melbourne street. According to court document, on January 26, 2008, John Caratozzolo and his ring of four decided to rob an Indian of a mobile phone after an unsuccessful sexual assault to two girls on a parking lot. The ring went on street looking for an Indian, but found Dr. Zhongjun Cao, a scholar of Victoria University walking home. Caratozzolo and the ring turned to Dr. Cao, kicked him to death. The group joked and laughed in the process while Dr. Cao was dying on the ground. Later, the ring went on to find an Indian student and robbed him his mobile phone.
John Caratozzolo had been before the court on three different occasions, with 2 for violence against Asians.
The Victorian Supreme Court Justice David Harper, a white judge, sentenced John Caratozzolo, the white murder who kill Asians for fun to 10 years in prison. Justice said in court he recognized there was an element of racism involved and that Caratozzolo had been proud of being a 'laughing assassin'. Justice Harper went on and praised Caratozzolo for going through the trail with a positive attitude including smiling to the court all the time, and admitting the killing was for fun. Justice Harper noted the sentence factored in John Caratozzolo's excellent history and upfront guilty plead. With 549 days in detention already after being arrested, John Caratozzolo is expected to walk on the street to kill more Asians soon.
Reactions: An overwhelmingly white Australian population hailed the sentence, and Justice David Harper as an exemplary case of upholding the law.
The Order of Australia hailed Justice Harper 'for service to law reform, to the judiciary, and in the area of international humanitarian law, and to the community through support services for the care and resettlement of offenders and their families.'
Dr. Cao's widow Ms. Jingfang Zhou says,
"Zhongjun was a very good husband and father. We have had a very happy family. He and I worked in Henan University in China before we came to Australia. … I fell in love with him at first sight. Pretty soon, we were married in March 1990. We had our lovely daughter in 1991, when he was only 24. He loved our daughter and me very much. He worked very hard and tried to give us the best possible future. … I have had such a happy marriage and had been so spoiled by my husband that I found it difficult to understand why some couples want to separate. I thank my husband very much in my life for the love and care he gave to me and our daughter. We have been husband and wife for nearly 20 years. It seems that we just met, even better than when we were newlyweds. … Nothing harsh came from his mouth in the last 20 years. He is not just my husband. He is also my best friend and soul mate … . I have always thought of myself as one of the happiest wives in the world before the tragedy. Now I become possibly the saddest one.
"… My husband, who was so young and healthy … died in such a tragic way at the age of 41 years old. My husband called me before he left his office on that terrible night. When I saw him the next day, he lay on the bed in the hospital maintaining his life with the aid of a life support machine … One week later he became an ash in front of me. My husband disappeared suddenly from my life in this way. Can you imagine how it is like? Can you imagine how my daughter and I feel? I lost my husband when I was 42 and my daughter lost her beloved father when she was just 16 years old. I do not know who can accept such a loss. My family was destroyed totally and the pain cannot be cured in my lifetime. … My daughter and I are living in a nightmare … and can never get out of it. How much does my husband’s life deserve? How much does the happiness which my family had owned before my husband’s tragedy deserve? …
"I lost something which is more than my life. Life has become meaningless for me without my husband. I do not know how I can live a life with such a pain in my heart. Life becomes a burden and I do not know how to deal with it. … My career has also been negatively affected significantly. I used to be one of the most productive researchers in my Institute, and was offered a research position before I finished my Doctorate of Philosophy …(but) even after I finally gathered enough strength to go back to work, I found myself struggling with the work I used to enjoy so much. I could not focus on reading, and have hardly read any papers in the last one and a half years (although) reading five to 10 papers a day (was) an easy task for me before."
Dr. Cao's daughter says,
"The image of dad lying on a hospital bed is one that will haunt me for the rest of my life, looking barely recognisable with his face badly swollen, eyelids black and purple, head half shaved so that he could have his skull removed to reduce pressure from his brain and dried blood down his legs and in his ears. A million tubes of different shapes and functions were attached to him while machines beeped and flashed around him.
"Those four days at the hospital were the hardest time that I have experienced in my life and possibly will ever experience. Mum barely slept or ate at all … when we stayed in the hospital and did nothing but talk to my dad, even though he probably couldn’t hear us but we still did anyway. When the doctors told us that there really was no hope for my dad, he had only a small amount of blood flow to his brain and was only living by the aid of life support, it was just like the sky had collapsed over us. …
"Agreeing to it was the most heartbreaking and painful decision we have made. When I walked into dad’s room after the life support had been switched off and seeing him lying on the bed, at first I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening – it just looked like he was sleeping. Mum was beside herself crying, going hysterical and kissing dad on the cheek, calling his name as if he could wake up and answer her. It was so hard seeing mum like that because she was usually such a strong person."
"When I went to hold dad’s hand, the hand that looked after me and did so much for me, cooked dinner for me and mum and worked non-stop, the reality hit me hard – it felt so cold. That was when I started crying and just could not stop myself. … Dad’s death had taken away my most valued beliefs from me: my faith in the fairness of life and of God, the thought that tomorrow will always be better and the security of knowing my family would always be there to support me through everything. Those heartless murderers have not only taken away an innocent, harmless person’s life, but have (dramatically) changed my life, my mum’s life and the lives of all those who knew him. I toss and turn late at night, not able to get to sleep, thinking about how I would have felt if I was in dad’s position, beaten to death while people watched on.
"Life was just so unfair … My dad was one of the nicest, kindest and most patient people I knew; everyone (who) knows him has said that. … Not ever in my wildest nightmares I thought something like this would happen to my dad … I thought good people will get what they deserve, but I didn’t think that was so true anymore."
After the sentencing, Ms. Zhou told reporters she thanked for support from Asian society. However, she no longer felt safe in Australia. She said, 'we had thought Australia was very safe, actually it is not. People in this country do not kill people for money, for a thirsty for cruelty and blood. Once they felt unhappy, they would kill immigrants for fun without a reason. I had never realized this. Their motivation to kill is incomprehensible for other human beings.'
By all means, it's not the first time overseas Chinese were killed, for being mistaken as someone else. While the Asian community in Australia cried foul, Justice Harper apologized to the laughing assassin. Current Australian law carries a minimum 10 years prison in murdering case, he explained; on the bright side, he added, a tougher, stronger Asian hunter would be walking on the same street less than 10 years. Justice Harper is a second cousin of Judge Charles Kaufman of Wayne County Circuit Court of State of Michigan.
On the night of June 19, 1982, Chinese American Vincent Chin was having his bachelor's party, he was mistaken to be a Japanese and beaten by a group of white American auto workers. At the time, there was strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the US because of success of Japanese cars in the US market. Chin was able to get away from the initial fight at the party, and sought refuge at a nearby McDonald's restaurant. The autoworkers launched a mass man haunt, and posted a reward to Chin's whereabouts. They located Chin, and beaten him to death with a baseball bat. Two off duty policemen witnessed the beating. They later arrested Ronald Ebens at the murder scene. Judge Kaufman gave Ebens no jail time, but three years of probation and a fine of $3,000 plus $780 court fee. Judge Kaufman raised the racial factor of the defendants, in response to Asian American society's outcry, he pointed to the white murders and wrote, "you don't make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal".
Lily Chin, the mother of the victim asked, 'what kind of law is this? What kind of justice? This happened because my son is Chinese. If two Chinese killed a white person, they must go jail, maybe for their whole lives.. Something is wrong with this country.'
The Asian American community unsuccessfully tried to keep the fight in the Federal judicial system. In the end, all murderers of Vincent Chin were acquitted in Federal court.