Police under fire for not telling public about random stabber

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2011, 12:00am


Police have come under fire for taking six days to alert the public about a series of random knife attacks in Tseung Kwan O last week.

Four men were attacked with a 30cm-long knife by a stranger between the night of October 2 and the morning of October 3, yet police only released details at a briefing on Sunday following newspaper reports of the incidents.

The first victim, a 49-year-old man, was stabbed in the back from behind at 8.02pm on October 2 near Po Lam Shopping Centre.

Four hours later, an 18-year-old was knifed on the arms and back inside a subway tunnel at Po Lam Road North near King Lam Estate.

At 6.35am on October 3, a 50-year-old man was stabbed in the arms and stomach on his way to work, at a bus stop at Metro City opposite Tseung Kwan O police station.

And 10 minutes later, a 56-year-old man was cut on his arms near Hau Tak Estate.

All except the 18-year-old youth have been discharged from Tseung Kwan O Hospital.

Kwun Tong district crime squad is hunting a man of medium build, about 1.6m tall, aged 25 to 35, who may be suffering from a mental illness. He was wearing a baseball cap, surgical mask and dark jacket at the time of the stabbing spree.

On Sunday, a group of Tseung Kwan O residents and district councillors marched in protest from Po Lam MTR station to Tseung Kwan O police station. Sai Kung district councillor Christine Fong Kwok-shan criticised the police for putting people at risk by not disclosing information.

'Residents are worried that the attacks seem to be random,' Fong said. 'Rumours have been circulating in the neighbourhood for a week, but we couldn't get confirmation from the police.

'If the police released the information earlier, residents could have stayed watchful.'

When asked why the police had not alerted the public, Chief Inspector Kam She-ming said a reply would be given later. He said police had strengthened patrols, combining uniformed and plainclothes officers, in a special operation to track down the attacker.