tags: Timeline May 2014 , Taiwan, Train Incidents, Stabbing Attacks , student suspect, cover story, unconnected incident (China Uyghur stabbings), Asian Suspect, Asian victim
25 total 4 killed 21 injured May 21, 2014 Taipei Taiwan Train Stabbing Spree Kills 4 In Taipei Taiwan, a university student with 2 knives he purchased at a store attacked subway riders, killing four and injuring 21.
The 2014 Taipei Metro attack was a mass stabbing spree that took place on 21 May 2014, directed toward unspecific civilians on a Taipei Metro train near Jiangzicui Station, resulting in 4 deaths and 24 injured. It was the first fatal attack on the city's subway system since it began operations in 1996. The suspected attack The attack happened at around 4:25 p.m. local time on the Bannan (blue) line, inside a train heading west between Longshan Temple Station in Taipei and Jiangzicui Station in New Taipei. The distance between the two stations is the longest between any two stations in the metro system, lasting around 5 minutes. During the attack, the assailant hacked and chased passengers with a 30 cm long fruit knife. Before the train could stop at Jiangzicui Station, a group of passengers banded together to distance themselves using umbrellas while others tried to discourage the attacker by loudly taunting him.
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According to statistics compiled by the New Taipei Fire Department, the youngest victim was a 26-year-old graduate student at National Cheng Kung University, identified as Chang Cheng-han (male). The other three killed are 28-year-old Hsieh Ching-yun (male), 47-year-old Pan Pi-chu and 62-year-old Lee Tsui-yun (both female). They were all taken to different hospitals in Taipei and New Taipei, the department said. In addition, 24 others were wounded during the knife attack, 10 of whom critically.
When the subway train arrived at Jiangzicui Station, a single suspected assailant was subdued by passengers, police and metro staff and taken to the nearby Haishan police station after a brief standoff. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said police presence on the metro was increased soon after the incident and added that he was requesting reinforcements from the National Police Agency.
On 22 May, the suspect was taken to the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office for questioning. A prosecutor applied to detain him in the New Taipei District Court, which was approved by a judge around 6:20 am. He was detained in the Taipei Detention Center located in Tucheng District, with an inmate number of 1892.
Questioning after attack
New Taipei Police Chief Chen Kou-en identified the suspected attacker as Cheng Chieh, a 21-year-old second-year student at Tunghai University in the central city of Taichung. Chief Chen said the suspect told police he had wanted to do something "shocking and big" and had plotted to carry out the attack from childhood. Chen said no other motive was presently known.
During questioning, the suspect said he originally intended to attack after his college graduation, but decided to move earlier since he had "no classes" on 21 May and he had grown tired of living. The suspect stated that he does not admit guilt, feels no regret, wants the death sentence, and that even if his parents were on the train he attacked, he would have killed them, as well as the prosecutors questioning him.
In elementary school, Cheng threatened to kill classmates over small disagreements. In junior high, he had carried a knife for a month looking for a chance to stab his teacher. In senior high, Cheng began blogging about his plans to kill and posted articles about murders. He enrolled in Chung Cheng Institute of Technology in 2011 with the intention of receiving military training, but was expelled two years later. He then transferred to Tunghai University.
Condolence message displayed on a Taipei Metro television after the incident
Tribute at Jiangzicui Station Exit 3
On the evening of 21 May, people began leaving flowers and cards at an exit of Jiangzicui Station to pay tribute to those who died in the attack.
On 22 May, President Ma Ying-jeou condemned the attack and ordered the National Police Agency to investigate what led a university student to stab four people to death on a crowded subway train. The Legislative Yuan on 23 May released a joint statement signed by all political parties calling for the National Police Agency to thoroughly re-examine and increase police deployment on metro systems, railways and airports. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin announced that police officers from precincts in Taipei and New Taipei City are to be permanently deployed at each of the Taipei MRT commuter rail system's 109 stations.
Tunghai University released an open letter, saying that Cheng is part of the family, and promised to set up an expert committee to investigate the matter.
KMT legislator Jiang Hui-zhen (江惠貞) said the passengers had put themselves in danger by focusing on their smartphones, while KMT legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the passengers should have quickly pressed the emergency alert button in the train, and that the passengers lacked common sense. These remarks had sparked a public outcry against the legislators.
The incident has sparked a debate online about whether the death penalty is appropriate punishment for such attacks. A Facebook group named "Indefinitely supporting death penalty for Cheng Chieh" had over 32,000 "likes" as of 22 May.
Lin Hsin-yi (林欣怡), executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, said that the most important thing at present is for the public to think about how to help the victims of the metro slashing spree and ease the survivors and their relatives out of the suffering brought about by the tragedy.
On 27 May, Cheng Chieh's parents publicly apologized at Jiangzicui Station and called for a quick death sentence for their son.
Cheng was indicted by the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office on 21 July, and charged with four counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder. The Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation, the company that runs the Taipei Metro, is also suing Cheng for NT$$20.61 million in lost earnings.
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