A Sunday Times photographer has been beaten up and punched repeatedly in the face by the wife of President Robert Mugabe.

Grace Mugabe, 43, known as the First Shopper of Zimbabwe, flew into a rage when she was spotted last week leaving the exclusive Shangri-La hotel in Hong Kong. She has been staying there with her entourage while her country endures poverty, hunger and disease.

Holding a Jimmy Choo-style bag and hiding behind Cavalli rhine-stone-framed glasses with a red cashmere shawl over her head, she ordered her bodyguard to attack the photographer, Richard Jones.

While the guard tried to wrestle away Jones’s camera, she joined in the assault.

“The man held him while she hit him again and again in the face with her fists. She was screaming, completely crazy,” said Werner Zapletal, a tourist from Austria who witnessed the incident.

Jones, 42, suffered nine cuts, abrasions and bruises to the face and head caused by the heavy, diamond-encrusted rings Mugabe was wearing, according to a medical report by Dr Raymond Ng, a general practitioner in Hong Kong.

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