Man arrested in stabbing incident in central Sydney

A police officer stands guard after a knife attack in Sydney, Australia on Aug 13, 2019.
A police officer stands guard after a knife attack in Sydney, Australia on Aug 13, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (AFP, REUTERS) - Australian police arrested a man who stabbed a woman and chased several others in central Sydney on Tuesday (Aug 13) before being pinned down by members of the public, police said.

The unidentified man had also tried unsuccessfully to stab other people, police said, in an incident that brought the central business district in Australia’s largest city to a standstill in the early afternoon.

"We have a female person with a stab wound to the back currently being treated by paramedics and is en route to a Sydney hospital," police Superintendent Gavin Wood told reporters in Sydney.

He said the woman’s injuries were not life-threatening.

Mr Wood also said the attack appeared to be unprovoked but police were keeping an open mind.

Police were also investigating whether the body of a woman found inside an apartment near where the stabbing took place was linked to the incident, a New South Wales state police spokeswoman said.

Video footage on Twitter showed a young man running across a city intersection and jumping onto the hood of a car, waving what appeared to be a knife. 

The man fell to the ground when the car moved and was confronted by a person holding a chair, the video showed. 

Other footage showed the man pinned to the ground by several people holding two chairs and a milk crate on top of him.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised those who stopped the assailant. 

"The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to ... restrain him," he said.

Ms Megan Hayley said a man with a large kitchen knife chased several people though a busy office district and "five or six others were chasing him behind, trying to stop him, they caught him and restrained him" with chairs and a plastic crate.

Images broadcast by Australian media showed the man jumping on the roof of a car brandishing a knife shouting "Allahu Akbar" and "shoot me".

Police had earlier urged the public to avoid the area around King and Clarence Streets, in the central business district of Australia's largest city, where they were conducting an operation.

A woman who answered the phone at a Subway store near the scene told Reuters: "We saw the person with a knife over there bleeding."

"The cops are here and they blocked the road right now, so we can't go outside. They said: 'It's a crime scene, you can't come out'," said the woman, who declined to give her name.