The sale of pepper spray and non-lethal guns has registered a "huge spike" in the city of Cologne in Germany after it witnessed an unprecedented spate of sex attacks on women and robberies allegedly by "Arab or North African" immigrant men on New Year's Eve, resulting in the term "rapefugees" being coined.
"We saw a huge spike of sales numbers after January," NBC News quoted Ingo Meinhard, head of the German association for gunsmiths and weapons dealers, as saying. Meinhard was referring to the sales of "so-called deterrents and defensive small arms."
"CS gas spray, stun guns and pepper spray are especially in great demand," he said.
Additionally, at least 300 adults have applied for imitation handguns and so-called gas pistols since the New year's Eve incident, according to Cologne police. Germany has strict gun laws.
Over a million migrants and refugees, including from Syria, arrived in Germany in 2015, and people in the country are divided over Chancellor Angela Merkel's policy of accepting refugees and asylum seekers.
The New Year's incident has led to widespread concerns.
The Bornheim town, about 12 miles south of Cologne, has banned male asylum seekers from a public swimming pool after women complained of harassment, according to BBC.
Those banned are men from a nearby asylum shelter, a government official was quoted as saying. The ban will stay until they "got the message" that they cannot behave in that manner, he added.
"There have been complaints of sexual harassment and chatting-up going on in this swimming pool... by groups of young men, and this has prompted some women to leave," Markus Schnapka, head of the social affairs department in Bornheim, told Reuters.
Hundreds of women complained of being groped and sexually assaulted during New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne. Police have received 676 criminal complaints thus far.
"I was here. I saw everything, but there was nothing we could do, we are just refugees in this country," Yousef, a Syrian refugee, told Deutsche Welle. "At the beginning everything was fine, people were shooting flares, drinking, dancing. There was a very happy feeling. But then me and my friends saw the attackers doing what they were doing. We decided to leave, we took a train home."
He added: "They were very drunk and broke glass bottles everywhere. I thought to myself, 'I'm only a refugee here, I don't have any right to come to them and tell them what to do.'"
"It was horror," described a 28-year-old woman, speaking to the local Express newspaper. "Although we shouted and hit around us, the guys did not stop. I was desperate." She said she was groped about 100 times while walking 600 feet.