German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her sympathy to the Hongkongers wounded in the axe attack near Wuerzburg, Bavaria, wishing them a speedy recovery.

On Wednesday at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May – who is in Berlin for talks – Merkel addressed the brutal axe attack by an Afghan refugee on a German train earlier this week.

Angela Merkel. File Photo: Wikicommons.

Four Hongkongers were seriously injured and two of them are still in a critical condition. The attacker was shot dead by German police. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

See also: ‘Like a slaughterhouse’: Hong Kong victims of German train attack joined by family

Merkel described the attack as unbelievably cruel, adding that she has been following up on the incident and listening to reports on the progress of the investigation.

Photo: Youtube screencap.

Merkel said that her thoughts are with the family from Hong Kong. “We are thinking of you… and we wish from the heart that you can recover from the severe injuries, from the physical as well as mental trauma that such an attack would bring,” Merkel said.

Merkel also said that there are still many unknowns regarding the perpetrator and the background of the case. She promised that the authorities will do their best to investigate.

The attacker’s foster family said that, before the attack, the behaviour of the 17-year-old had been acting suspiciously and he was often on the phone. It was unclear who he was speaking to, according to sources cited by DBC radio. The police said that his social media profiles did not display signs of an imminent attack.

Additional reporting: Chantal Yuen.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.