Taiwan police detain alleged MRT attacker

Taiwan police detain alleged MRT attacker
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Taipei Shilin District Court ordered the detention of a 27-year-old man, Kuo Yen-chun, who is accused of launching a random knife attack at a Taipei Metro station, injuring four people on Monday.

Wielding a kitchen knife at Zhongshan MRT Station Monday night, Kuo is accused of slashing four people before he was apprehended by security guards and station staff.

Kou told police Tuesday that he knew he had made a mistake but it was "all too late."

During questioning in the preliminary investigation, Kuo told police that he had carried out the attack because he had been jobless for a long time and was "in a bad mood."

He said he had been sleeping in city parks and wandering around for several days because he had no job or money, according to Lai Chun-yao, head of the investigation division at the Datong Precinct.

Kuo said he left home last week after having a quarrel with his aunt, with whom he had been living since he moved back to Taiwan from Japan following his mother's death, police said.

Since then, he had been sleeping in a public park near Hejiang Street, police said.

On Monday evening Kuo stole a kitchen knife from a convenience store and went to Zhongshan MRT Station, where he began slashing at people indiscriminately, according to police.

All four wounded - three women and one man - were hospitalised for knife cuts that were not life threatening. 

At a press conference after the interrogation, Lai said the suspect did not speak much but was aware that he had done something wrong and had told police that it was "all too late."

Kuo seemed not to be able to remember much about the details of Monday night's attack, and hardly answered the investigators' questions, except to say that he was not a drug user and that he was driven by rage to carry out the attack, Lai said.

According to the investigator, Kuo was not aware that Monday was his birthday and said he had no idea how far he would go in the attack.

Prior to the MRT attack, Kuo had no criminal record, Lai said, adding that the suspect will be assessed to determine his mental health.

Kuo has been charged with attempted murder, assault and theft, and is being held at the Shilin District Prosecutors' Office in Taipei, pending further investigation of the case.

Copycat?

The slashing spree was the second such attack in Taipei's MRT system in 14 months.

On May 21, 2014, Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) was convicted of killing four passengers and injured 24 others when he went on a knife-wielding rampage on a moving MRT train.

The 21-year-old college student was convicted of multiple homicide charges and given four death sentences and a prison term of 144 1/2 years by a district court in Taipei earlier this year.

The Taiwan High Court is considering his appeal.

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