Wed, May 28, 2014 - Page 1 News List

MRT suspect’s parents apologize

JIANGZICUI:The couple knelt and bowed outside the station at the center of last week’s stabbing spree. The father said the death penalty would be appropriate

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The parents of mass stabbing suspect Cheng Chieh bow down to apologize at the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system’s Jiangzicui Station in New Taipei City’s Banciao District yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The parents of the suspect in the stabbing spree on Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system last week appeared outside Jiangzicui (江子翠) Station yesterday afternoon to apologize to the families of the victims for the losses that their son had caused them.

Four people were killed and 23 injured in the incident on Wednesday last week and 21-year-old university student, Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), was detained in connection with the stabbings.

Taiwanese tradition dictates that the families of the dead pay tribute to them on the seventh day after their deaths, when it is believed that their spirits will return to their families and loved ones.

Cheng’s parents issued a written statement apologizing for their son’s alleged actions on Friday last week, which New Taipei City Councilman Lin Kuo-chun (林國春) read out for them.

However, they were criticized by victims’ family members and others for not making the apology in person to the families.

Surrounded by a scrum of police, journalists and photographers, Cheng’s parents tearfully knelt and bowed to the public outside the station yesterday afternoon, asking for forgiveness.

“We are Cheng Chieh’s parents. Today is the seventh day. Please forgive us for not being able to pay our respects to the families of the victims. We are ordinary people and do not have ways to find out the information [about the families]. We can only do that [pay respects] later if we have the chance. We really do not know what to do after spending these past few days in torment,” Cheng’s father said.

“We deeply apologize to the victims and the injured for the horrendous crime committed by Cheng Chieh,” the father said.

“He is our child, and his actions have caused unbearable pain to the families of the victims. As his parents who love him, we are utterly disappointed with and have lost faith in him. We have tasted the bitterness of a broken family,” the father said.

Given the severity of the crime, prosecutors are likely to seek the death penalty in the case, he said, adding that this was the consequence his son should face.

“My heart is in pain, but I hope that the judge will quickly put Cheng on trial and rule on the case, and by doing so, give some consolation to the victims,” he said.

“As the parents who raised Cheng for 21 years, we must have made mistakes that we were not aware of. Nevertheless, we have no excuse,” he said. “We hope that Cheng Chieh will be a good man in his next life.”

Family members of 52-year-old Pan Pi-chu (潘碧珠) and 28-year-old Hsieh Ching-yun (解青雲) — both killed in the attack — said that Cheng’s parents should personally pay homage to the victims at their homes, not just in front of the media.

However, the parents of another victim, 26-year-old Chang Cheng-han (張正翰), rejected the idea, saying such a gesture was meaningless and would not bring their son back.

“His [Cheng Chieh] parents did not teach him well and he eventually became society’s problem. Society has paid a great price for his deed,” Chang’s mother said. “This shows that family education is important.”

Meanwhile, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) held a five-minute-long silence to mourn the victimsat all MRT stations that began at 4:26pm, which is the time the stabbing rampage started.

Words of mourning were displayed on the monitors inside the stations.

“May 21, 2014 was the saddest day in our Metro’s history. Let’s mourn for the loss of lives, pray for those who were injured and strive for a peaceful society. May the Heavens bless Taiwan,” the company said.

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