TAIPEI, Taiwan - The parents of the Taipei Metro stabbing assailant yesterday appeared at Jiangzicui Station to pay their respects and give condolences to the victims of the incident, followed by a public statement of apology.
Those present were taking part in the Chinese tradition, "The First Seven" (頭七), a rite that is traditionally observed as a day of respect whereby families memorialize their late family members after seven days following their death.
Several family members of the four victims had displayed resentment toward the parents of Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), the perpetrator of the attack, stating that the parents had only provided a written statement following the incident. The parents seemed to have disappeared since, said one family member, while still owing the victims' families a personal apology.
The elder son of one of the victims quoted a stanza from the Chinese Trimetric Classic (三字經), which reads, "It's the parents' fault to rear but not teach." He went on to say that he cannot accept the attitude of Cheng's parents, telling them that they cannot hide forever.
Metro Appearance, Apology
Following the criticism from victims' families, Cheng's parents appeared at Jiangzicui Station at 4:15 p.m. to give their respects and condolences.
Cheng's parents knelt down repeatedly in front of the station while covering their faces to weep. Cheng's father later gave a public apology to the victims' families, stating that he believes prosecutors would seek the death penalty for Cheng, and that they hope the case will go through quickly out of respect for the victims and their families.
Cheng's parents also asked for forgiveness from the families. The parents' statement had said that as regular citizens, they are not familiar with how to handle a situation such as this, and then pleaded for a chance to make things right. Cheng's father concluded his apology, stating that though it pains him, he hopes the judge will pass the death sentence quickly and that, as Cheng's parents, they share partial responsibility for the mistakes of their son.
In related news, local media had reported earlier yesterday that while talking to a councilor, MRT stabbing assailant Cheng had criticised his parents for not visiting him. The report also stated that Cheng did not receive any aid from his family to purchase his own provisions at the Taipei Detention Center and has only been issued with basic necessities through a charity at the centre.
Deputy Director Kao Chien-yun (高千雲) from the centre responded to the reports later yesterday, stating that they were different from the truth.
Kao said that Cheng had never once asked why his parents hadn't been to visit him. Reportedly, it was councilors at the centre who had talked about the subject with Cheng during one of their sessions. In response, said Kao, Cheng had stated that considering the current social pressures, he could completely understand why his parents have not visited.