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Five hurt in acid attack robberies in London

  • Published at 06:00 pm July 14th, 2017
Five hurt in acid attack robberies in London

British police arrested a teenager on Friday after five acid attacks in less than 90 minutes across east London left several people with facial burns, including one with horrific injuries.

Two assailants on a moped pulled up alongside a 32-year-old man in the Hackney area of east London at 21:25 GMT on Thursday and threw acid in his face before one of the pair made off with the victim's moped.

In the next hour and a half, three other men across Hackney and one in the neighbouring borough of Islington had corrosive substances hurled at them, police said.

After one of the robberies in Hackney, a man was left with facial injuries described by police as life-changing.

"A male in his teens has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery," the London police service said. "He is currently in custody at an east London police station."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said that while still relatively rare, the number of acid attacks appeared to have risen in the capital.

Sharp rise of acid attacks

The data, released by the Metropolitan Police, showed the number of reported attacks in London rose from 261 in 2015 to 454 in 2016, a rise of 74%. The figures also revealed that more than 1,800 attacks involving corrosive fluid have been reported since 2010.

The borough with the most acid attacks was in east London, which had three times more attacks than the next highest borough, with a total of 398 attacks from 2011 to 2016.

Acid is believed to be a popular weapon for gangs as it is easy to obtain and it can be difficult to identify the attacker.

On June 21, Pakistan-origin Jameel Muhktar and his cousin Resham Khan, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, suffered severe burns when a man threw acid through their car window.

'Horrific'

British Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted at the introduction of new legislation to combat a spate of acid attacks after the "horrific" rampage.

The prime minister's spokeswoman told a Westminster briefing: "It is already an offence to carry acid or a corrosive substance with intent to cause harm. And anyone using it can be prosecuted for pretty serious offences.

"We are working with the police to see what more we could do.

"The Prime Minister's view is that the use of acid in this way is horrific."