Taiwanese were still in shock yesterday at the brutality and unrepentant attitude of Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), the alleged perpetrator of the random killing spree on Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system on Wednesday that resulted in four deaths, with many saying they feel uneasy about using public transport even after Cheng was detained yesterday morning.
Cheng’s motives remained unclear, but a preliminary analysis points to a high probability of Cheng having some kind of psychosis, National Police Agency (NPA) Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟) said yesterday.
Cheng, a 21-year-old student at Tunghai University in Greater Taichung, had allegedly used a previously concealed knife to stab randomly at people on the MRT Bannan Line when the train was traveling from Longshan Temple Station to Jiangzicui Station, causing the death of four people and wounding another 23 people.
The alleged killer was detained by police at 4pm on Wednesday at Jianzicui police station for an official report of the incident to be logged and filed, before he was moved to the New Taipei City Police Department’s Haishan Precinct for fingerprinting.
Cheng was transferred to the New Taipei City District Prosecutors’ Office at 2:39am yesterday, but Cheng and his police escorts were surrounded by angry people who tried to attack Cheng during the transfer. The police managed to protect him from harm.
The New Taipei City District Prosecutors’ Office filed a request with the district court to detain Cheng at 6am. The court approved the request on the grounds that the evidence of the crime was solid.
Cheng was not barred from visitation as he had clearly committed his actions alone and did not need to collude with others, the court said.
The Taipei Detention Center received Cheng at 6:40am yesterday, about 14 hours after the stabbing spree.
The center said Cheng, now detainee No. 1892, was in solitary confinement in an effort to protect him, as well as other inmates.
Many civilians, both local and from afar, brought flowers to the MRT’s Jiangzicui Station and left notes to mourn the deaths of the passengers.
Fearing for their children’s safety, many parents escorted their children to school yesterday.
One mother, surnamed Lin (林), said there are only four MRT stops between her home at Jiangzicui Station to her child’s school at Fuzhong Station, but after Wednesday’s incident she was very worried and got up early to take her child to school before heading to work.
The NPA stepped up security at each MRT station in both Taipei City and New Taipei City, starting at 8pm on Wednesday, and yesterday canceled all days off for police officers at the Railway Police Bureau.
The bureau heightened alerts across all forms of public transportation, including on the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) trains and at all Taiwan High Speed Rail stations.
According to a report by the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times’ sister paper, a man surnamed Chien (簡) expressed concern about the incident’s impact on society, as it was the first incident of homicide on Taiwan’s public transportation system.
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