I didn't, but I explained I was a journalist for The Independent looking to speak to a man at an address in the area, who was standing as a candidate in the local elections, about allegations of postal vote fraud. "Can we see your note pad," the boy asked.
I declined and then the first punch came – landing straight on my nose, sending blood and tears streaming down my face. Then another. Then another.
I tried to protect myself but a fresh crop of attackers – I guess between four and six – joined in. As they knocked me to the ground one of them brought a traffic cone repeatedly down on the back of my head.
What brought me to Bow yesterday were allegations of widespread postal voting fraud. Both the local Conservative and Respect parties in Tower Hamlets have been looking through the new electoral rolls for properties that have an alarmingly high number of adults registered to one address. The area has a large Bengali population and this type of fraud is unfortunately all too common. In some instances there have been as many as 20 Bengali names supposedly living in two or three-bedroom flats. When journalists have previously called, all too often there are far fewer living there. In some instances, no Bengalis at all.
In such a heavily populated borough, a few fraudulent postal votes might not sound like it matters but when you look at how slim the majorities are here you know every vote counts. In Bethnal Green and Bow, Respect has a tiny 1,300-vote lead. In neighbouring Poplar and Limehouse, where George Galloway is taking on Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick and Tory newcomer Tim Archer, the lead is around 4,000. But boundary changes have brought thousands of affluent Tory-leaning voters into the constituency, making it an equally tight race.
So far Scotland Yard is looking into 28 allegations of bogus voter registration in London, although the Conservative and Respect parties both say they have highlighted many more. Concerns have been amplified by a flood of new voter registrations in the past few weeks in the run-up to the nationwide deadline on 20 April. Election officials in Tower Hamlets have removed 141 suspect ballots from the register but overall 5,166 new names were received before the deadline with little time to check their veracity.
A vote for any Labour candidate is a vote for state sanctioned thuggery that would not be out of place in Zimbabwe, maybe we could ask them to send observers to oversee our "free and fair election"....