The Mechelen-Willebroek Police are investigating syringe attacks after 14 people fell ill during a football match between between KV Mechelen and RC Genk on Saturday.
Eyewitnesses report how victims were falling unwell during the game of the Europe playoffs of the Belgian First Division at the AFAS Stadium in Mechelen, according to De Morgen.
Eye witness report
All the victims fell unwell after being attacked by a needle, with emergency services arriving en masse to support the victims during the match, eyewitnesses reported.
A young woman collapsed out of the blue, an 18 year-old witness told VTM News who was at the stadium. The eyewitness reported that after emergency services took the victim away, another person became unwell and another young woman fell unconscious.
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"It didn't stop. Very frightening, also because we didn't know what the exact cause was. Later on, we heard that other people were feeling unwell," said the eyewitness.
Incidents are spreading
Needle-spiking has been occurring more frequently in clubs and bars, where people are pricked by a needle and injected with harmful substances against their will.
Reports emerged last year of multiple women being spiked with syringes in the UK last year. Since then the method spread to France and recently Belgium where there have been a series of syringe attacks during parties in Arlon and Ghent.
"The victims told us about a the needle-spiking incident," confirmed Dirk Van de Sande of the Mechelen-Willebroek Police Force. "14 people fell unwell, mostly women but also some men. Among the victims were also minors."
De Sande added that the police launched an investigation the night after the match and hoped to get more information based on medical reports and camera images from the match. Eight victims had gone to the hospital, but blood tests found no drug residues for now. The victims have since left the hospital.