Police hunt for man handing out poisoned drinks at Berlin Christmas markets

BERLIN (BNO NEWS) — Police in the German capital of Berlin are searching for a man who is handing out poisoned drinks at the city’s popular Christmas markets, officials said on Saturday. At least seven people have been sickened.

Police said the first case was reported on Thursday afternoon when two foreign students were approached by a man at Breitscheidplatz square. The suspect told the 24- and 26-year-old men that he was celebrating the birth of his daughter and gave them small glasses of liquor for a toast.

“Shortly after drinking the drinks presented to them, they both experienced strong convulsions and vomiting,” a police spokesperson said on Saturday. “The 24-year-old fell unconscious and had to be brought in for inpatient treatment at a hospital.”

Just hours later, at 9 p.m. local time, three women aged 23 to 24 were approached by the same man at Alexanderplatz square. “Here too, the man pretended to want to celebrate the birth of his child and offered glasses with liquor to the women,” the police spokesperson said. “After drinking, the three were suffering from vomiting and altered consciousness and were also brought to a hospital for treatment.”

A third incident was reported on Saturday when two more people fell sick after also being offered drinks at the Berlin Christmas markets, raising the total number of victims to at least seven. Their conditions are not believed to be life-threatening.

Police said it was not immediately known what sort of poison is being used, but authorities have increased security at the Christmas markets as they search for the man. The suspect is being described as a man aged about 45 with short, dark blond hair.

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