The British police are investigating a series of attacks on Saturday by a group of men in East London who apparently sprayed acid on a group of people, injuring six. It was the latest in a series of similar episodes that the police have linked to gang activities in the area.
The police were called to the scene of the attacks at around 8 p.m. Saturday, and they arrested one man on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, Scotland Yard said. The police are not treating Saturday’s episode as a terrorism-related attack.
Witnesses told the BBC that a fight had broken out between two groups at a shopping mall, and that afterward victims ran to nearby bathrooms to wash a caustic substance off their eyes and face.
East London has been the scene of other such attacks. In August, a man suffered serious injuries and scarring when two men threw acid in his face, reportedly because he refused to buy drugs from them. In July, two teenagers were arrested after carrying out five acid attacks in a little over an hour, in some cases blinding victims astride mopeds and stealing the vehicle. In April, an attack at a nightclub left a dozen people with severe burns to their faces and arms.
The Metropolitan Police reported 455 incidents in 2016 in which a corrosive substance was used, a sharp increase from 265 in 2015 and 174 in 2014. Officials have called for tougher sentences, and restrictions on the sale of sulfuric acid.
Video recorded near the scene on Saturday showed police officers and paramedics gathered around a prone victim, with screens erected to shield them from bystanders.
Source: New York Times