The British police said Saturday that they had made five arrests in the case of what they called a homophobic attack on two women who were assaulted and robbed on the deserted top deck of a double-decker bus in North London last month.
Four teenagers ages 15 to 18 were arrested on Friday on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm, the Metropolitan Police of London said in a statement. On Saturday, a fifth teenager was detained, the police said.
Reports of homophobic hate crimes have risen steadily in London over the last four years, according to the Metropolitan Police’s crime statistics, with 2,308 reported in 2018, up from 1,488 in 2014. The police have attributed the increase, in part, to a greater willingness of people to report anti-gay crimes.
The attack took place around 2:30 a.m. on May 30 on a bus heading toward the neighborhood of Camden, according to the statement. The women, sitting on the upper deck, were approached by “four males who began to make lewd and homophobic comments to them,” the police said. The two women were “punched several times” and robbed, the police said, and were treated at a hospital for facial injuries.
Mayor Sadiq Khan of London condemned the attack, writing on Twitter: “This was a disgusting, misogynistic attack. Hate crimes against the L.G.B.T.+ community will not be tolerated.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, called the attack “absolutely shocking.” “We must not, and will not, accept this homophobic and misogynist violence in our society,” he tweeted.