iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Five men were attacked with acid in different areas of London on Thursday night.
The attacks were reported to police over a 72-minute period, with four taking place in the eastern borough of Hackney and one in the northern borough of Islington. According to the Metropolitan Poloce Services, the five victims were transported to hospitals, with one man suffering life-changing facial injuries.
Police said a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery Friday morning. Earlier Friday morning, a 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of the same offenses after he was identified near the scene of the attacks in surveillance video. Both suspects are in custody at a police station in north London.
Police are urging witnesses to come forward with any information amid the latest in a spate of attacks using corrosive substances as weapons in the British capital.
“This is a fast moving investigation and we have made two arrests today. However, I would like to ask the public for their help,” said Ben Clark, chief inspector for the Metropolitan Police Service in Hackney borough. “Each of these offences took place in busy locations and we know there may be witnesses who have not yet contacted us. If you saw something or managed to film or photograph anything that might help us please get in touch.”
According to Clark, all five victims were riding mopeds at the time of the attacks, but they come from a “variety of backgrounds.”
“These are hideous offences and must have been very frightening for all of the victims,” he said.
The first incident, which occurred at the junction of Hackney Road and Queensbridge Road, was reported to police at 10:25 p.m. local time. Responding officers found a 32-year-old man suffering from non-life-changing facial injuries. The victim was on a moped when another moped carrying two male riders pulled up alongside him. They threw a corrosive liquid in his face and one of them stole his vehicle before driving off together, police said.
At 10:49 p.m. local time, police were called to St. Paul’s Road where a 44-year-old man riding a moped had a corrosive substance thrown in his face by two males also on a moped. According to police, the victim was taken to a hospital and authorities are awaiting an update on his condition.
At 11:05 p.m. local time, police received a call about two males on a moped throwing a corrosive liquid in another man’s face on Shoreditch High Street. The 52-year-old victim was taken to the hospital with facial injuries believed to be non-life-threatening. Authorities are awaiting an update on his condition, according to police.
A similar incident on Cazenove Road near the junction with Upper Clapton Road was reported to police at 11:18 p.m. Responding officers found a 24-year-old man there suffering from what police said were described as “life-changing” facial injuries.
At 11:37 p.m. local time, a 33-year-old man reported to police that he he was on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road when two males on another moped pulled alongside him and sprayed a corrosive liquid in his face. They then stole his moped and fled the scene. The victim managed to make his way home before contacting police. He was taken to a hospital and authorities are awaiting an update on his condition, according to police.
Police have also urged the public to be vigilant about anyone who may be carrying dangerous corrosives.
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