Taiwan subway attacker pleads guilty, may face death penalty

TAIPEI - A student who went on a deadly subway stabbing spree that shocked Taiwan appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded guilty, but relatives of victims said he seemed to feel no remorse.

Cheng Chieh is charged with four counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder over the attack on May 21, the first of its kind on the city's subway system since it began operating in 1996.

The 21-year-old pleaded guilty when he appeared for the first time, handcuffed and tightly-guarded, at a district court outside Taipei.

"But he did not show any regret all all... he looked arrogant throughout," the son of a woman victim told reporters.

"Even if he had apologised, I would not have forgiven him." The brother of another victim said: "I felt more angry upon seeing him." Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for an incident which shocked an island proud of its low level of violent crime.

Cheng's parents have asked for him to be sentenced to death to ease the pain inflicted on the victims and their families, calling their son's actions "unforgivable".

Prosecutors said psychological evaluations have shown that Cheng was not in a state of mental disorder when he committed the crime, describing him as "anti-society, narcissistic, immature and pessimistic".

In elementary school, he had vowed revenge killings after having trouble with classmates, they said.

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

Security has been strengthened on the metro, which transports around 1.85 million people a day.