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A second stabbing in Finland appears to be racially motivated, police say

By Thomson Reuters Jun 19, 2024 | 5:40 AM

HELSINKI (Reuters) – A second knife attack in less than a week in a shopping centre in the northern Finnish city of Oulu appears to have been racially motivated, police said on Wednesday, triggering condemnation from the country’s politicians.

On Monday, 33-year-old Sebastian Lamsa, a man with far-right sympathies, was remanded in custody, suspected of stabbing and seriously wounding a 12-year-old child of foreign background at the Valkea shopping centre last Thursday.

Police said a similar attack against a man from a foreign background followed in the same shopping centre on Tuesday evening.

“The preliminary information suggests that the motive for the act would be racist. There is also indication that the act may have been copied from last week’s shopping centre stabbing,” Oulu police said in a statement.

Finland’s leading politicians condemned the attacks, which Finnish President Alexander Stubb described as “shocking”.

“There must be no place for racism or racist violence in Finland at any level,” Stubb wrote in a post.

Lamsa is known as a previously active member of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), a far-right organisation that Finland banned in 2020 and the U.S. Department of State designated as a global terrorist group on Friday.

The second perpetrator, who is suspected of stabbing the adult victim in his upper body, is a teenager “of above 15 years old”, police said, meaning he is criminally liable under Finnish law.

The shopping centre’s security guards intervened in both attacks. The victims survived and were taken to hospital, police said.

Lamsa, who chased also another child after stabbing the 12-year-old, is being held in custody for two attempted murders, Oulu district court documents showed.

He was previously convicted for stabbing a man in 2013 at an event in a public library where a new book on the far right in Finland was being presented.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Essi Lehto in Helsinki; Editing by Sharon Singleton)