An attack on a gay man in east London is being treated as attempted murder.

The 20-year-old, known only as Olly, was set upon by a gang of five youths in Boundary street last Thursday night as he walked with a female friend to the George and Dragon pub in Shoreditch.

The police said the attack was being treated as homophobic.

Olly was verbally abused, struck on the head with a glass bottle then stabbed seven times in the back and torso.

He is in a critical condition at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Three men have been arrested and released on police bail.

Detective Inspector Howard Way told the East London Advertiser:

“We are investigating this attack as attempted murder.

“What we’re concentrating on is tracking down and bringing to justice the people who committed this evil crime.”

Bethnal Green and Bow MP George Galloway told the paper:

“This is a sickening and vile assault. A near fatal knife attack on a defenceless man is horrific enough.

“The fact that this also appears to be a homophobic hate crime compounds the evil.”

A local gay resident, Alan Booth, 45, told Advertiser:

“It has just got worse and worse around here – it’s left people frightened to go out.

“The problem is with a minority of Bengali youths. It’s time we got people together to discuss what we can do to make it safer for the gay community.”

A spate of teenage stabbings has captured the headlines in London in the last two years.

On Saturday 14-year-old Shaquille Smith became the 25th teenager to meet a violent death in the capital this year.

He was ambushed by a gang of up to 15 youths on bikes in a park near his home in Hackney.