In Belgium, a number of people became victims of spiking at two major events. Especially football fans of KV Mechelen had to be taken to the hospital. The phenomenon is puzzling.
The police of the Mechelen-Willebroek region between Brussels and Antwerp have confirmed that there were numerous cases of spiking during a match in the top Belgian football league between KV Mechelen and KRC Genk. As the daily newspaper “Het Laatste Nieuws” (HLN) reports, 14 supporters of KV Mechelen were found injured by needle injections last Saturday. Those affected had previously complained of nausea. At least two other cases of spiking were reported to police by the Belgian Pride parade in Brussels.
The Mechelen fans suddenly complained of being unwell during the game on Saturday. According to the police, everyone felt a sting beforehand. Those affected, including children, were in the same area of the stands. Eight of the people reportedly had to be taken to a hospital; the remaining six were able to receive medical care on site. One of the two spiking victims who were stabbed at an outdoor party as part of Belgian Pride made a complaint to the police.
Needle spiking – first cases in UK
Spiking or needle spiking is a more recent phenomenon in which people are stabbed with hypodermic needles by strangers in public. According to experts, the substance in the needles causes in most cases dizziness, nausea, confusion, balance and speech disorders, and memory loss. Depending on the occasion, the substance is also added to a drink – mostly in clubs or discotheques; then there is talk of drink spiking. The first cases of needle spiking became known in Great Britain and Ireland around September 2021 and mostly affected young women. There have also been incidents of spiking in France, the Netherlands and now Belgium. The phenomenon occurs “both at parties and in discos and now also at football games,” reported a spokesman for Belgian Pride on Saturday. The public must be made as aware as possible of the phenomenon. According to reports, controls have been strengthened, especially in Great Britain.
The police in Mechelen hope to be able to identify suspects via video images from the football stadium. A police spokesman did not want to say whether there had already been interrogations. The 14 victims had so far only been questioned shortly before medical care. These surveys are to be continued in the coming days. Investigators hope those affected can remember who was near them at the time they felt the sting.
Experts puzzle over motive
According to the police, an initial toxicological investigation gives no further cause for concern. It still has to be checked whether the football fans were actually administered a substance, and if so, which one. Toxicologist Jan Tytgat believes the perpetrators use fentanyl or ketamine in these cases. “Fentanyl works so quickly that you can numb with a very small amount,” Tytgat told the Nieuwsblad newspaper. The expert does not believe that it is the “classic rape drug” GHB. This doesn’t work as fast and strong.
The motive is also largely a mystery – especially given the crime in the Mechelen stadium. Drink spiking in a club is about making someone compliant with a drug. “But in a packed football stadium, with men and women as victims? That doesn’t fit with incapacitating someone discreetly,” said Tom Evenepoel of drug help.
Quellen: “The Latest News”; “Newspaper”