Singapore – On July 21 (Sunday), the annual Cosfest XVIII cosplay event was held at Downtown East in Pasir Ris. Among the attendees were three people dressed in white hazmat suits who did something more than dress up as their favourite anime characters.
“We would like to respond to the posts circulating around right now regarding perpetrators in white biohazard suits committing acts of mischief during Cosfest XVIII,” read an important announcement posted on Cosfest’s Facebook page.
According to different reports from attendees and booth owners, the three suspects went around the venue “patrolling” the premises.
They would inform booth owners that they were there for inspection and would check their merchandise.
After their “inspection,” the perpetrators would give the exhibitors a card with a biohazard symbol marked with the word “clear.”
Other cards given out had different messages such as “toxic,” “not nice” (given to booths that sold explicit merchandise), “insecure flexer,” or “Pervert/HJJ” (HJJ = Hentai JiJi or ‘perverted old man’ in Japanese).
The suspects reportedly destroyed artworks for sale and sprayed an unknown substance at the victims.
There have been no reports of injuries.
According to the Cosfest post, the perpetrators were detained by security and the police informed.
Two of the three suspects were apprehended on the spot while the third fled the scene but left his phone, which led to his eventual detention.
One of the men was an adult “that has past involvements in the local community,” noted Cosfest.
The other two were teens.
It was mentioned in the post that “according to the perpetrators’ statements given so far, they were being paid by someone to commit these acts during Cosfest XVIII.”
Police investigations are ongoing.
Many praised Cosfest for taking swift action on the incident and providing an update on the investigation.
Netizen Haldir Aiacos added that their apprehension could serve as a warning for others who might want to try similar tactics. “Their action might ruin the chance for real cosplayers with similar suit or armor from attending public events like this.”
Many thought the men were real cosplayers and did not expect anything more from their choice of costume.
Cosfest is Singapore’s longest-running cosplay convention organised by the Singapore Cosplay Club. For 17 years, it is an event for Japanese pop-culture aficionados, filled with plenty of cosplayers showcasing their outfits and booths selling anime and manga fan-made merchandise. -/TISG