Students risk traffic to dodge muggings

LARGE groups of international students are putting themselves in harm's way out of fear of being bashed and robbed.

After 10 youths robbed a Chinese student on Tuesday night, there was a steady of flow of University of Newcastle students again bypassing a problem-area underpass and, instead, dodging traffic at the busy University Drive roundabout near Main Road at Jesmond.

"We have had several issues again in the last couple of months and we are very concerned," Newcastle University Student Association international convener Eduardo Carvajal said yesterday.

"It is very dangerous, not just for international students but all students."

Newcastle crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey met with university officials yesterday following the latest incident involving the 23-year-old Chinese student.

The student was walking home from university when he was confronted by the group, including two teenage girls, and was hit with a tree branch before being restrained and robbed.

"It is so dangerous, it is so dark, it is not a nice place to be," Mr Carvajal said.

Street robberies of international students had dwindled from a spike in 2009 and 2010 following increased education and security arrangements.

But the confidence of students is again taking a battering, with an increasing number dodging traffic across the large overpass and roundabout.

In 20 minutes yesterday afternoon, more than 30 students were seen to walk along a tight area between the lane and bridge. Only three used the underpass.

Mr Carvajal said a group of students was planning to attend a rally in Sydney on Saturday against violence towards Chinese students.

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