Over a hundred reports of mystery liquid attacks in three weeks, nearly half in Mong Kok

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25th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of disturbing assaults, where women have been targeted with an unidentified liquid, prompting a significant law enforcement response and sparking a heated debate across the city.

In a troubling development, more than a hundred instances of these attacks have been documented within a mere three weeks, according to a dedicated social media page set up to address the issue. The page has been actively collecting victim reports and raising awareness of what is emerging as a pattern of collective sexual violence rather than isolated incidents.

Law enforcement officials have escalated their response, recently apprehending a male suspect on charges of “public decency disruption”, signalling a shift in the treatment of the attacks from individual crimes to a broader societal menace. The arrest is a crucial step in acknowledging the gravity of the situation and the need for collective action from society, law enforcement, and the media.

The social media page has also created an interactive map pinpointing the locations of reported attacks, urging the public to be vigilant. The map reveals a disturbing concentration of incidents across Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the New Territories, with Mong Kok standing out as a hotspot. Searches for “Mong Kok” alone yield 43 results, nearly half of the total reported cases, while other densely populated areas like Causeway Bay and Wan Chai have also seen a significant number of attacks.

The pattern of assault, where perpetrators target the intimate areas of female victims with an unknown liquid, has been labelled by activists as a social issue steeped in gender-based violence. It is a phenomenon that extends beyond mere physical attacks, encompassing any action, verbal or otherwise, that is sexually suggestive and non-consensual, provoking fear, threat, or humiliation in the victim.

Experts stress that sexual violence is defined by the combination of sexual connotation and the absence of consent, a definition that captures the experiences of the women affected by these recent attacks. Those who have faced similar ordeals are being encouraged to report such incidents and seek emotional support from organisations like RainLily, which is at the forefront of offering assistance to survivors.