Two teenagers, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, have been arrested as police launch a major investigation into a series of five acid attacks that took place in less than 90 minutes in east London on Thursday night.
One of the victims was said to have suffered “life-changing” injuries during one of the attacks, which were carried out by two male suspects on a moped.
The Metropolitan police said the incidents on Thursday night appeared to be linked, and two involved victims having their mopeds stolen. Police said two male teenagers had been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery.
The Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, condemned the acid attacks as “completely barbaric” in an LBC interview on Friday morning.
Police said the attackers pulled up to five people and doused them with corrosive liquid in five separate attacks between 10.25pm and 11.37pm.
Chief Inspector Ben Clark, from Hackney Borough, said that not all the victims were delivery drivers, contrary to rumours circulating, but they were all riding mopeds at the time of the attacks.
The attacks began when a 32-year-old moped rider was approached by the two male suspects as he rode on the Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road.
The pair tossed the noxious substance into his face before one of them jumped on to his vehicle and drove away. Police said the man had gone to an east London hospital and they were awaiting an update on his injuries.
Little more than 20 minutes later, at about 10.50pm, the pair sprayed another victim with searing liquid on the Upper Street junction with Highbury Corner in Islington. The victim was taken to hospital in north London.
At about 11.05pm, a further victim was attacked by two men on a moped on Shoreditch High Street, having liquid thrown in his face. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
Within 15 minutes the attackers appear to have struck again, launching the corrosive substance at a man on Cazenove Road, causing “life-changing” injuries.
The final assault of the night was reported to police at 11.37pm, when another man was confronted as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road. After again spraying the liquid in a victim’s face, the moped was stolen and both attackers fled.