A 21-year-old Afghan asylum seeker was arrested in the Austrian city of Linz after luring a woman to a local park where he struck her down and raped her.
The attack occurred on October 1st when a 30-year-old woman was walking around late in the evening having lost her mobile phone. The 21-year-old offered to help the woman find her phone and said that his friends were nearby and she could use their phone. He then led her to a nearby park and raped her, Kronen Zeitung reports.
The migrant was able to escape the scene without being captured, but authorities do not believe it was the only sex attack he committed.
Police say a few days after the attack, he is believed to have followed a 22-year-old woman from the Nibelungen bridge to her home where he harassed her outside the entrance. The woman was able to escape unharmed.
On November 1st, the same Afghan asylum seeker attempted to sexually harass a 19-year-old who was heading back home from an event. When he tried to force himself on her, the 19-year-old fought back fiercely and scratched him in the face. The 21-year-old then fled and was later caught by police who had increased their patrols due to the rising number of attacks.
Provincial police director Andreas Pilsl said that while the asylum seeker denies involvement in all but one of the incidents, DNA evidence links him to all three. Investigators in the case said that they were also looking into other reports of sex attacks to see if the migrant was linked to even more crimes.
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Pilsl said that so far this year, 21 rapes or rape attempts had occurred in public spaces in the city and that Afghan asylum seekers were grossly overrepresented as perpetrators.
Last month, the Austrian government released a report showing that migrant sex attacks had gone up by 26.18 per cent between 2015 and 2016. The report claimed that around half of all sex attack suspects were migrants in Austria with Afghans being the most represented.
In May this year, one 25-year-old Afghan migrant was sentenced to two years in prison after a court heard that he sexually harassed 14 different women over a four-month period. In five of the attacks, the man succeeded in grabbing the genitals of his victims and in the other nine incidents the women fought him off.