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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 30)—A gang of women is spreading fear in Suva by injecting young men and women within the vicinity of the bus station with a clear substance which they claim to be lethal.

Three people are in hospital undergoing medical tests while four people were taken in for questioning but later released.

This case is a first for police who are treating the complaints seriously.

Curative Health Services Minister Doctor Gunasagaran Gounder said while the doctor at the hospital could not find a needle injury on one complainant, thorough tests were being conducted and they were awaiting results.

Kuini Milamoce, 15, of Vatuwaqa, was with friends at the bus station early afternoon yesterday when they were confronted by strangers.

One threw a syringe at her, landing at the back of her right ankle while another asked her if she wanted to live or die.

She said eight women then held her and her three friends. One removed the syringe from her foot and injected her twice with a colour-less liquid.

On the way home, she said she felt weak and saw one of her friends shivering.

She told her mother and her brothers reported the matter to police yesterday afternoon.

Last night, she was waiting to see a doctor at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

In the second case, Setareki Masarau Tuiqila, 17, was carrying a carton of groceries following his father and brother at the bus station when he felt a pin prick on his inner arm.

He yelled out and pointed out three women he thought were responsible for the incident to his father Kiniviliame Tuiqila, 46, and brother.

Mr Tuiqila said they caught the three girls in one of the buses and handed them over to the police.

He said his son felt weak after the incident and he took him to hospital. He was still at the CWM Hospital when this edition went to press.

Mr Tuiqila said they were awaiting the results of Setareki's blood test.

The third victim, whose identity is not known, was allegedly injected while standing outside the Village Six cinemas.

A friend of the teenager, who refused to divulge his identity, said three girls closed in on his friend and pricked him with a needle.

He said they quickly left but then returned and pricked him again.

When The Sunday Times caught up with the boy at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, he was on a bed awaiting the arrival of a doctor. A police officer was at the hospital, having accompanied the teenager there.

Cabinet minister Dr Gounder said the doctor had seen only one patient so far.

He said tests had been carried out and they were awaiting results.

He advised people to be careful when moving around in crowded public areas, especially if surrounded by suspicious characters.

Police spokeswoman Sylvia Low said this was the first time such an incident had been reported to police. She said they would have to wait for medical reports and details from the victims before proceeding with the case.

She confirmed that four people were taken in by police but later released.

"We urge any person who may have had a similar experience to report the matter to police and seek medical attention immediately as a precaution," she said.

When asked if this could be a prank, Ms Low said anything reported to police was taken seriously.

July 31, 2006

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