Two men terrorized east London Thursday with five acid attacks in less than 90 minutes.
A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of being one of the attackers. The duo rode mopeds around the area and threw liquid acid in peoples’ faces. One of the victims suffered “life-changing” injuries.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, described the attacks as “completely barbaric.” Police assume the attacks are linked since two of the victims had their mopeds stolen.
“The acid can cause horrendous injuries,” Dick told LBC radio, according to BBC.
Acid attacks have increased at an alarming rate in the British capital in recent years. More than 1,800 attacks have been reported since 2010. In 2016 alone, corrosive fluids were involved in 458 crimes — up from 261 in 2015.
“I don’t want people to think this is happening all over London all the time, it is really not, but we are concerned because the numbers appear to be going up. We will arrest people, we will enforce the law as we can, and we are working very closely with the Home Office to try to see if there is any changes in the law required.”
Around 80 percent of world-wide acid attacks target women. Victims in London are primarily men and most attacks are believed to be gang-related.
“Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male-on-male attacks and most likely to be gang-related,” Jaf Shah, the executive director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International told the Guardian in March.
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