Police are searching for two men in relation to an anti-gay attack in London.

The victim, 19, and his friends were travelling between West Ham and North Greenwhich when they were approached two men, who began verbally abusing them.

The 19-year-old claims that when they challenged the homophobic language, the pair became aggressive and threatened to stab him before placing him in a headlock,” reports Evening Standard.

When a friend of the victim tried to come to his aid, she was “punched and pushed to the ground,” according to police.

British Transport Police have insisted that they are treating the vicious attack as a hate crime, and have appealed for more witnesses.

A BTP spokesman said: “They demanded the victim apologise for being gay which eventually the victim did as he was struggling to breathe.

“They then let him go and handed back his phone and a fight ensued between the victim’s friends and the offenders. One of the victim’s friends, a 25-year-old woman, was punched and pushed to the ground. She sustained bruising.”

“Hate crime will not be tolerated by British Transport Police. We believe that everyone has the right to travel safety. We won’t tolerate behaviour where someone is targeted because they are perceived to be different, or made to feel uncomfortable on their journey.”

Please contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016, quoting reference number 273 of 1/12 if you have any further information.