Flag-carrying man arrested over samurai sword attack at Taiwan’s presidential office

Island’s leader Tsai Ing-wen was in the building when suspect carrying China flag struck

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 August, 2017, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 August, 2017, 11:22pm

Taiwanese authorities have arrested a 51-year-old man who allegedly attacked a military police officer with a stolen samurai sword outside the island’s Presidential Office Building on Friday.

The suspect, identified as 51-year-old unemployed man Lu Chun-yi, was also carrying a flag of the People’s Republic of China and claimed the act was politically motivated, authorities said.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang said the wounded officer was transported to National Taiwan University Hospital and was in a stable condition with cuts to his neck.

President Tsai Ing-wen was in the building attending a gathering for staff members’ children.

Lu attacked the officer at about 10am and was quickly overpowered by other military police guarding the building, Huang said.

Police claimed Lu admitted stealing the sword from the nearby Armed Forces Museum with a hammer he had bought earlier that morning.

Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chen Chung-chi confirmed the suspect used a hammer to break a glass case displaying the weapon.

The sword was used by the Japanese imperial troops during the 1937 Nanking Massacre and engraved with the words: “107 people killed in the Nanking battle.”

Pro-Beijing activist held over vandalised colonial era statues in Taipei

Police also said Lu had a PRC flag in his bag but did not shout any slogans during the attack.

“The suspect told us he wanted to express his political stand and therefore went to the Presidential Office, but because he was afraid he would be forcibly removed by the military officers standing guard there, he first stole the sword from the museum for defence,” an officer from a police station near the Presidential Office said.

Lu said he went to the Presidential Office Building area a couple of weeks ago but was too frightened to try to break in, according to police.