Accidental mace spray causes gas panic on the Taipei Metro

Commuters boarding and alighting from a Taipei Metro train.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Taipei Metro yesterday had yet another incident of passenger panic that was later proven to be a false alarm, allegedly the result of a passenger accidentally setting off her mace in a MRT Tamsui-Xinyi Line train.

At 10:34 a.m. yesterday, a passenger had reportedly alerted the train operator of a Xiangshan Station-bound train that an unknown gas agent had appeared between the 4th and 5th train car as the train was passing through Shipai Station. The agent was said to have caused passengers to cough and cry, working as a tear-gas like substance.

Following the alerts, MRT personnel announced the situation to passengers and warned everyone to leave the train as soon as it came to a stop. Around 350 passengers were reported to have cleared the train without any injuries.

While police authorities were notified, a station master was dispatched to examine the station platform and the train to try and secure the train in case of an attack. The station master later said that the incident was a false alarm, after discovering that the gas was most likely released from a can of self-defence mace.

Allegedly, the mace was released by an unidentified 40-year-old woman. The woman was nowhere to be found shortly after the incident, and authorities are currently trying to identify the woman through surveillance cameras. The entire incident was cleared within 4 minutes, with the train back in operation.