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Fifth woman attacked by acid-throwing cyclist in Berlin

A Berlin woman reported being attacked this week by a cyclist who threw acid in her face - the fifth such case in the capital city since December.

Fifth woman attacked by acid-throwing cyclist in Berlin
File photo: DPA.

According to police, the 27-year-old woman was walking in the eastern district of Friedrichshain late on Monday night when an unknown cyclist sprayed her in the face with a liquid, which fire services said was acidic. The exact substance is not yet known.

The woman told police that the male cyclist was dressed in dark colours, and had continued biking after the attack.

The woman went to hospital to be treated for serious damage to her eyes, according to local broadcaster rbb.

This was the fifth such case reported since December last year. In January, another 27-year-old woman in the eastern Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood was also attacked by a male bike rider in a similar way.

In December, a cyclist attacked three women with a skin-irritating liquid. In at least one of these attacks, the substance was found to be battery acid.

Police are now investigating whether there is a connection among the cases.

POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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