Taiwan mourns four victims of stabbing spree on Taipei subway

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 6:12pm

Taiwan on Thursday mourned the four victims murdered in a stabbing spree aboard a Taipei subway train, the first attack of its kind in the country.

People laid out flowers and cards to pay tribute to those who died in the attack at Jiangzicui station on Wednesday evening.

Three people – a 28-year-old man, 26-year-old man and 47-year-old woman – died at the site from stab wounds to the neck and chest, while a fourth victim, a woman, 62, died in hospital.

The lone attacker, Cheng Chieh, a 21-year-old college student, is in custody undergoing further questioning.

Watch: Caught on camera: Knifeman stabs four to death on Taipei subway

“I hope the spirits of the dead can rest in peace and those who were wounded can recover soon,” a tearful woman said at the site.

Twenty-four people were wounded, about half of them seriously.

During the regular cabinet meeting, Premier Jiang Yi-huah conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and ordered police to launch an in-depth investigation.

The Taipei subway system opened in 1996 and this was the first attack of this kind on it.

A court official said the suspect, Cheng Che, had admitted he was guilty, but declined to reveal further details.

Cheng, wearing a red T-shirt, began attacking travellers with a 30cm knife on a subway train outside Taipei, sending hundreds of people screaming and fleeing for help.

When the train pulled into the next station, Cheng fled and was chased by police before being kicked to the ground by a passenger and overwhelmed by a group of security officials and subway riders.

Chen Kuo-en, chief of the New Taipei City police bureau, said: “He told the police that he had wanted to do a ‘big thing’ such as this since his childhood.

“He said he had planned to do this after his graduation, but last week decided to act ahead of his schedule.”

Chen said the attacker had no medical record of mental disorder.

Local media said Cheng had been obsessed in online killing games and had written horror stories since high school.

Security has been beefed up at the metro system, which transports 1.85 million people a day.

Meanwhile, police said they had obtained warrants to search the homes of two men after they posted online messages threatening to launch a similar stabbing spree at the subway system of the island’s second biggest city, Kaohsiung.