Police officers in Bangladesh are reportedly hunting a “serial killer,” self-described as “Hercules,” for killing at least three accused rapists in recent weeks, several regional news outlets reported over the weekend.
Local authorities are “investigating the murders but so far remain clueless about the identity of Hercules,” Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper noted.
According to the Statesman, Bangladeshi police have found three corpses within the same area over the last two weeks with notes hanging around their necks.
One of the notes, written in Bengali and undersigned “Hercules,” reportedly read, “I am Rakib. I am the rapist of a madressah girl … of Bhandaria. This is the consequence of a rapist. Be wary rapists.”
The girl mentioned in the note had accused a couple of assailants of gang-raping her when she was on her way to her grandparents’ home on January 14, the Daily Star reported.
Her father reportedly registered a case with local law enforcement against two male suspects identified as Rakib and Sajal who were found dead with Hercules’ notes around their necks.
On February 1, authorities recovered the body of 20-year-old suspected rapist Rakib.
M Jahidul Islam, the local police station chief, told the Daily Star that Rakib sustained bullet wounds to the head.
Law enforcement discovered the body of the second accused rapist, Sajal, a few days earlier — on January 24 — with a similar note around his neck.
Authorities believe Hercules fatally shot him as well.
On January 17, police also recovered the body of Ripon, another accused rapist, with a note around his neck, similar to the ones found on Sajal and Rakib’s corpses.
Early last month, on January 7, authorities found an unidentified 18-year-old factory worker dead in her house, hours after she filed a rape case against Ripon and three other co-workers, the Daily Star reported.
Rape, particularly the sexual abuse of children, is “on the rise” in Bangladesh, the Straits Time reported early last year.
The Straits Time, citing the network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) known as Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), declared that “as many as 28 children are murdered and 49 raped in Bangladesh every month.”
BSAF “observed that such incidents resulted from legal tangles delaying justice and a culture of impunity that encourages perpetrators to commit crimes,” the news outlet added.
In their latest report, the forum revealed that criminals killed 339 and raped 593 in 2017 alone, up by 28 percent and 33 percent respectively from the previous year.
In 2018, police in Bangladesh recorded 16,523 “women & child repression” crimes, which covers rape. The number “women & child repression” crimes exceeded all others, except those associated with illicit narcotics.