LONDON -- An American student was attacked and slashed with a broken bottle just three days after arriving in Britain, police said Wednesday.
Francesco Hounye, who moved to the U.K. from Florida to study aviation, needed 23 stitches to his face after five men beat him following a "heated" verbal exchange in the Shadwell area of east London.
"Every time I look in the mirror from now on I will be reminded of this incident," said Hounye, 22. "I face the rest of my life with the permanent scarring that will be left on my face as a result of this attack."
Investigators believe Hounye was assaulted because he was "obviously not from the local area and they took exception to the fact that he was a bit different."
Hounye speaks with an Italian accent, according to police. Detectives released video footage of the incident in a bid to trace the attackers.
Metropolitan Police Detective Constable Ben Mott said that Hounye may have been attacked because he stood out as a foreigner.
“The victim has an Italian accent, his own style of dress and mannerisms,” Mott said.
He added that the attack had "left him scarred for life."
The attack happened on June 17, but investigators released the video footage and photos of Hounye's injuries on Wednesday as they stepped up the hunt for the culprits.