The man who used his martial arts skills to subdue an alleged attacker at the Taipei mass rapid transit (MRT) system’s Jiangzicui Station (江子翠), 62-year-old Chen Feng (陳風), said the killing spree that happened on Wednesday afternoon at first seemed like the plot of a movie.
“I saw a person lying on the ground and thought somebody was making a movie, but then I thought: ‘Wait, this is an MRT station, you can’t make a movie here,’” Chen said.
Chen was on the train heading to Ximending (西門町) when he heard two women shout: “Help! Help! Someone is killing people!” from the opposite side of the platform.
He jumped off the train and realized right away that it was not a movie after all: A woman was lying bleeding on the platform and about seven or eight people were trying to corral the alleged perpetrator, Cheng Chieh (鄭捷).
“People scattered and ran away as fast as they could. All I thought was that I cannot let him [Cheng] get away with this, otherwise more people would get hurt,” Chen said.
Chen said he went to confront Cheng. When Cheng tried to attack him, Chen used the martial arts moves that he learned in high school to force Cheng to let go of his knife and threw him over his shoulder. Fearing that the suspect might flee, Chen quickly put the suspect’s head in an arm lock until police arrived and arrested him.
However, Chen was injured in the fight and has a slightly swollen forehead and light pains in the chest.
“Of course I was scared,” Chen said.
“I am 62 and he is 21. I am 1.75m tall, and he is about 1.8m. I had to engage in hand-to-hand combat with someone taller than me. However, I thought I am already 62 years old. Since other people were fighting him with umbrellas, I thought I might as well fight him with my life,” he added.
Apart from learning martial arts in high school, Chen said that he also learned taekwondo while in the military.
“I am not a hero. I just did something that any Taiwanese would do,” he said.