Acid thrown during fight at Ladies Market, injuring 11 people

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 September, 2009, 12:00am

Eleven people suffered burns after a man flung acid during a fight that erupted along the crowded, narrow lanes of the Ladies Market in Mong Kok last night.

Two of the victims remain in hospital and a 28-year-old man has been arrested over the attack.

Police said the fight started after the suspect stopped to talk to a man running a handbag stall on Tung Choi Street around 6pm. He believed the stall owner was having an affair with his wife, and after exchanging words, the attacker pulled a bottle from his bag and splashed the man, 53, in the face. The man's 49-year-old wife, who was helping to run the stall, was also burned by the liquid.

The attacker fled, throwing away a second bottle as he ran, with the wife chasing him to Shantung Street, yelling: 'Robbery! He stole!'

This drew the attention of two off-duty police officers who caught the man, and during the struggle, a third bottle of acid broke, injuring one of the officers.

In total, 11 people suffered burns, with the stall owner and a woman passerby last night remaining in hospital in stable condition.

The incident prompted fears among bystanders that it was a repeat of earlier acid attacks in Mong Kok. 'I thought it was another acid bomb being throw from above,' one stall operator said. 'My heart was pounding.'

Forty-six people were injured on December 13 when two bottles of corrosive liquid were dropped from a building onto Sai Yeung Choi Street South. Two similar attacks followed, on May 16 and June 8, injuring more than 50 people altogether.

A stall operator who sold accessories opposite the scene of the attack said the man and woman had been running their business there for more than 10 years.

He said the man suffered severe injuries to his face, while his wife suffered minor burns to her shoulder. Lee said the seriously injured man had to be covered with medical gauze, and she had washed the female victim with water.

Police last night had covered up the area of the broken bottles.

One of the off-duty officers, who was only identified as Mr Wu, was slightly burned on his chest during the struggle with the attacker.

'I heard her shouting,' he said. 'I and an off-duty colleague chased the man for about 20 metres and intercepted the suspect, a struggle followed ... My chest suffered a burn, but it was not serious.'