Two men and a 17-year-old boy have been hospitalised after being sprayed with a “noxious substance” on Shacklewell Lane in Hackney.
The men, aged 22 and 27, and the boy were injured during a “large altercation” between two groups of males at around 5.20am on Sunday March 6, according to police.
While the substance was not lethal, it is still to be determined whether their injuries will be life-changing.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Quinn Culter of the Metropolitan Police, said: “This is a particularly vicious and unpleasant incident, which has left a number of people with potentially lasting injuries.
“I know that a number of people witnessed this incident and I urge those people to come forward and share their information and/or footage with police.”
The force is asking anyone with information regarding the incident to call Hackney CID on 07825 793 215 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Noxious substance and acid attacks have been on the rise in Hackney in recent years. Rates of the offense have increased by over 30% since 2015, according to data from the Met.
Between 2015 and 2018, Hackney recorded 57 attacks, the fifth highest number out of London’s 32 boroughs. Croydon recorded six, Lewisham recorded nine, and Tower Hamlets recorded 72, third highest in the city.
The area with the highest attack rate was Newham. The East London borough reported 243 acid attacks between 2015 and 2018, accounting for almost a third of all attacks in the capital.
As of this year, acid has been defined as a “highly dangerous weapon”, and is subject to the same legal constraints as knives.
Adults caught carrying or threatening someone with acid, now receive a minimum jail term of six months, while under-18s receive a four-month detention and training order.
A “highly dangerous weapon” is defined by the Sentencing Council as “any article made or adapted for causing injury”, whose potential to inflict harm goes “substantially above and beyond”.