WITH its eight LAN-gaming outlets, Parklane Shopping Mall is a haven for youth to pit their wits against one another.

But the mall has just revealed a more sinister side.

In the wee hours of Monday, a 25-year-old Hong Kong tourist was attacked in a second- floor toilet by a man who barged into her cubicle, and grabbed at her legs and hips.

The woman fought off her assailant, kicking and screaming until he got scared and fled.

The lights in the toilet had been switched off just moments before the incident, her boyfriend, who declined to be named, told my paper yesterday.

He was waiting for his girlfriend at the time at LAN-gaming shop Aquarius, located just metres from the toilet.

He learnt of the incident only when his distraught girlfriend called him on his mobile phone, sobbing uncontrollably.

He subsequently called the police. The 30-year-old salesman said:

"We got to watch the closed-circuit TV footage after the police arrived, and it showed the culprit loitering near the toilet for more than an hour."

Enraged by the audacity of the assailant, he posted details of the incident on citizen-journalism website Stomp.

The couple had been at the LAN-gaming shop since 9pm on Sunday to play the popular real-time strategy video game, Defence Of The Ancients.

Earlier on Sunday, two youths had been involved in an altercation outside the same cafe.

At about 5pm that day, a teenager and a 20-year-old man came to blows when tension surged during a gaming competition at Aquarius.

They had been playing Sudden Attack, a multi-player shooting game, when the 14-year-old teen asked the other man to step outside for a talk.

A fight then broke out, leaving the 20-year-old with bruises to his left eye and nose as well as a bump on his forehead, reported The New Paper.

Part-time cafe assistant Nicholas Lee, 26, said: "It is not uncommon for gamers to shout at each other in the heat of the game too."

At least two LAN gaming outlets stay open until the wee hours, when the mall becomes a playground for clientele who stream in and out of the six KTV lounges in the building.

A hair-salon employee who declined to be named said: "This is a different place at night. So many KTV customers move in and out.

People can be capable of doing anything under the influence of alcohol."

When my paper visited the mall yesterday afternoon, the LAN gaming outlet appeared quiet. Business picked up by 8pm when droves of youth as well as people in their 30s filled the outlets.

On the wall just outside the toilet where Monday's attack took place was a large sign warning would-be wrongdoers that the area is under CCTV surveillance.

A 66-year-old security guard who works at the mall said that the CCTV had captured footage of the suspect.

A police spokesman confirmed that they had been informed of the incident.

The suspect is believed to be a fair-complexioned man of medium build in his 20s.

He was dressed in a pink striped polo T-shirt and a pair of light-coloured bermuda shorts.

He was last seen fleeing in the direction of The Cathay, added the spokesman.