British police announced that they had arrested eight suspects on Friday accused of racially abusing South Korean footballer Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur. The operation, which began last Sunday after the London team lost 3-1 to Manchester United, also questioned four other suspects. According to the authorities, the twelve men who were arrested are “suspected of publishing texts, using words or engaging in conduct that incites racial hatred.” The arrests took place in England and Wales.
Son was the target of criticism on social media as a result of the controversy linked to a disallowed goal by Edinson Cavani in the first half of that match. Anonymous wrote racial insults on the official account of United, which, after opening the Tottenham investigation, forwarded the information to the British authorities.
“Thanks to the painstaking work of the police, these anonymous people have been identified and found on social media,” says Inspector Matt Simpson. “This measure demonstrates that British police will not tolerate racist attacks, even when perpetrated online.”
In late April, English clubs launched a three-day boycott of social media in protest of racist insults targeting players on the platforms. They are asking companies to take action against people who present themselves in a biased manner.