Two women have been stabbed to death in a Hong Kong mall in a wild and seemingly random attack that has rocked a city where violent crime is rare.
Graphic videos circulating on social media show the assailant pinning one of the women to the floor and repeatedly stabbing her. They also show the woman’s friend trying unsuccessfully to fight off her attacker. Although it is not visible on the footage, she, too, was later stabbed.
Two women, aged 22 and 26, were injured multiple times in an attack at the Hollywood Plaza mall in Diamond Hill on Friday afternoon and died after being taken to hospital, police said.
Senior Police Superintendent Elien Chung Lai-i said the attacker, who did not appear to know the two women, bought the 12-inch knife used in the attack from the same mall shortly before the stabbing.
“He walked around for a few minutes and then started attacking the first victim,” she said.
Lai said that another woman came to stop him, but she herself became a target.
“We found multiple stab wounds (in two women) and they were bleeding heavily,” she said.
Police said they had arrested a 39-year-old unemployed man on suspicion of murder and that the suspect was suffering from a mental illness.
The attack shocked a city where violent crime of any kind is relatively rare, especially due to the apparently random nature of the incident.
Only a few dozen murders occur in the city each year compared to a few hundred in New York. And last year, there were just 77 robberies, compared to more than 17,000 in New York and 24,000 in London.
On Saturday, some members of the public left flowers at the mall, which is located mostly in a residential area in the north of the city.
The city’s chief executive, John Lee, said on Saturday that he was saddened by the attack and offered his condolences to the families of the two women.
Lee, a former police officer, also urged citizens to stop sharing footage of the attack online and said members of the public should “seek professional support if they are under any emotional stress.”
“This is an isolated incident,” Lee said.