The family of a 68-year-old man has described how he was beaten by a gang of robbers who stopped him to ask for a cigarette.

Emmanuel Zammit was one of three people alleged to have been robbed and assaulted by the same group on Sunday afternoon

The Gżira pensioner was walking in a wooded area between Pietà and Floriana at around 1pm when he was approached by three men, who asked him for a cigarette. 

When he said no, because he doesn’t smoke, some of the men allegedly held him while three others began to punch and kick him before making off with his phone and wallet, his family say.

Bystanders helped the victim, known as Leli to his friends, when they saw him walking in a daze, with a swollen and bruised face, towards the bus stop at Porte des Bombes in Floriana.

Police received reports of at least two other similar incidents on the same day and have arrested four men in connection with the attacks.  Items alleged to have been stolen from the victims were found on the arrested men, police say.

The man's shocked daughter, Stephanie Blundell, said the violence was shocking and appealed for people to watch out for their loved ones. 

“They broke the bones in his face to make off with €40,” she told Times of Malta

“You hear of these things happening but you only believe it when it happens to you. Don’t trust your loved ones by themselves, because when they were done with my father they went out and did it to other people.”

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