WATCH: Citizen ‘heroes’ stop deadly Australian knife rampage

Authorities said the woman was in a stable condition. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2019

WATCH: Citizen ‘heroes’ stop deadly Australian knife rampage

  • Media broadcast showed the attacker jumping on a roof of a car
  • One of the witnesses said the attacker looked like he could have blood on his chin and chest

SYDNEY: A knife-wielding man killed one person and attempted to stab several others in a central Sydney rampage Tuesday before being chased and pinned down by members of the public, witnesses told AFP.

Police said a 21-year-old Sydney man with a history of mental illness is believed to have killed a woman of around the same age in a residential unit before going on the rampage across the city center.

The following video shows of the attacker being captured by members of the public contains language that some may find offensive.

New South Wales police commissioner said he had no known links to terror organizations, but he did have a thumb drive with details of mass-casualty white-supremacist attacks in the United States and New Zealand.

Witness Megan Hales told AFP she saw a man brandishing a large kitchen knife chasing several people through the busy central business district shortly after lunchtime.

A 41-year-old woman who was stabbed is now said to be in a stable condition.

“Five or six others were chasing him behind, trying to stop him, they caught him and restrained him” in front of two popular cafes in the heart of the city, Hales said.

Four of the pursuers were Colombian-born Alex Roberts, and Britons Lee Cuthbert and brothers Paul and Luke O’Shaughnessy — all colleagues at a recruitment consultancy who raced from their fourth-floor office to the street.

“We’ve opened the window and seen the guy wielding a knife and jumping on the bonnet” of a nearby car, Paul O’Shaughnessy, a former professional footballer, told AFP.

Convinced it was a terrorist attack, his brother Luke — a champion Muay Thai boxer — led the chase.

“We all just ran down the building and chased him down the street,” said Roberts. “Everyone was kind of panicking, no one really knew what was happening,” he said. “Not your normal Tuesday afternoon.”

Cuthbert said Luke, with the help of another man, “managed to get him down on to the floor and pin him down” with chairs and a plastic crate before police arrived.

“We’re a very, very close team, we’re a start-up recruitment company” he added. “We’re all brothers really, so when you see brothers running, your natural instinct is to go and follow.”

Police said despite indications the assailant shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “shoot me” it was not yet clear whether there was a political motive.

“It would appear at this stage it is unprovoked but we are keeping a very open mind as we move forward,” police spokesman superintendent Gavin Wood said, hailing the action of the bystanders.

“To approach a person... with clear evidence of a stabbing previously, these people are heroes.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also praised the bravery of the onlookers.

“The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him,” he said in a tweet.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this violent attack.”


Hong Kong endures more transit disruptions, campus violence

Updated 15 min 18 sec ago

Hong Kong endures more transit disruptions, campus violence

  • Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes
HONG KONG: Hong Kong residents endured a fourth day of traffic snarls and mass transit disruptions Thursday as protesters closed some main roads and rail networks while police skirmished with militant students at major universities.

Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. None of the officers were injured, and six arrows were seized at the scene, police said.

Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes.

The government appealed for employers to show flexibility. “For staff who cannot report for duty on time on account of conditions in road traffic or public transport services, employers should give due consideration to the circumstances,” a statement said.

The Education Bureau extended the suspension of classes for kindergarten to high school students until Monday. It ordered schools to remain open, though, to handle children whose parents need to send them to school.

At Polytechnic University, protesters shot an arrow at officers patrolling nearby, then threw flower pots from a height when other officers arrived. Police responded with tear gas, and protesters fired more arrows.

Protesters have hurled gasoline bombs and thrown objects off bridges onto roads below during clashes at campuses this week. The Chinese University of Hong Kong suspended classes for the rest of the year, and others asked students to switch to online learning.

Students at Chinese University, site of some of the fiercest clashes where students hurled more than 400 firebombs at police on Tuesday, have barricaded themselves in the suburban campus.

Early Thursday they used chainsaws to drop trees onto streets around the campus and prepared for a possible confrontation with police, which were not intervening.

Anti-government protests have riven Hong Kong, and divided its people, for more than five months.

A major rail line connecting Kowloon to mainland China was closed for a second day and five major underground stations were shut along with seven light rail routes, the Transport Department announced.

“Road-based transport services have been seriously affected this morning due to continued road blockages and damage to road facilities. In view of safety concerns and uncertain road conditions, buses can only provide limited services,” the department said.
Traffic was also disrupted because protesters have destroyed at least 240 traffic lights around the city.

The movement began in June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Activists saw it as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a “one nation, two systems” principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.