A memorial whistle was blown yesterday for Railway Police Bureau officer Lee Cheng-han (李承翰), who was stabbed to death on July 3, as the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) announced that conductors and station staff would be given self-defense courses, and that pepper spray would be given to conductors.
All trains departing at 11:40am — when the pallbearers at Lee’s funeral service in Chiayi were scheduled to lift up his casket — blew their whistles for about three seconds in a salute to the slain officer.
Lee was stabbed during a confrontation with a Ziqiang Express (自強號) passenger who had refused to pay the full fare, leading the train’s conductor to call the bureau for assistance.
Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times
The incident led the TRA to open a review of the safety equipment carried by its onboard personnel.
The TRA said that, along with batons, it is considering pepper spray for train conductors and that conductors as well as staff members at railway stations would be asked to take self-defense classes to help prepare them for dealing with unruly passengers.
All train cabins have an emergency intercom system, allowing passengers to inform conductors when there is an emergency situation, and it plans to finish installing surveillance cameras inside commuter train carriages by 2021, the agency said.
Both devices would be installed on 600 carriages of new intercity trains and 520 carriages of commuter trains, it said.
The agency has listed thwarting unexpected violence on trains and at stations as part of its risk management system, for which it would analyze the types of attacks experienced by passengers, onboard service personnel and railway police, and determine how often they occur.
This would help it determine the right ways to address the safety risks, it said.
“We will strictly enforce a policy that bans passengers from entering platforms and boarding trains without tickets. Train conductors and station staff will be asked to conduct more frequent patrols on trains, platforms and inside the stations, and monitor suspicious individuals. New automatic fare gates will be installed in large railway stations as well as medium or small-size stations,” the agency said.
The new fare gates are to be installed in 241 stations nationwide within three years.
At small stations that do not have personnel, local police departments have been asked to increase the frequency of their patrols, the agency said.
The Railway Police Bureau is requiring officers to patrol stations and trains in pairs to ensure their safety, the TRA said.
In addition to 1,257 bottles of pepper spray, 250 Taser guns would be made available to officers patrolling stations, it said.
The bureau and TRA are to hold a drill on July 30 on handling violent incidents, it said.
During the service in Chiayi, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) presented Lee’s family with a presidential citation for the officer.
In recognition of Lee’s bravery, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) presented the family with a Medal of Exemplary Service, while National Policy Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) announced that the officer had been posthumously promoted to sublieutenant.
Lee was enshrined in the National Martyrs’ Shrine in Chiayi.
Additional reporting by CNA
TWEET CONFIRMED: The US’ Morgan Ortagus backed up Taiwan, saying China only admitted that human-to-human transmission was possible as late as Jan. 20 Taiwan warned the WHO and China about possible human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus at the end of last year, but the global health body did not make it public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) made the remark at a news briefing in Taipei, when asked about statements made by US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. “Dec. 31— that’s the same day Taiwan first tried to warn WHO of human-human transmission. Chinese authorities meanwhile silenced doctors and refused to admit human-human transmission until Jan. 20, with catastrophic consequences,” Ortagus wrote on
ON THE LOOKOUT: A Lockheed EP-3 reconnaissance plane was yesterday seen flying southwest of Kaohsiung, according to Twitter account ‘Aircraft Spots’ A Twitter account that tracks military aircraft movements has indicated an increase in US military activity near Taiwan, coinciding with an increase in Chinese military activity in the area. Planes from the US Seventh Fleet have been sighted frequently above the South China Sea in the past several days, and a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane was seen flying close to Taiwanese airspace southwest of Kaohsiung yesterday, according to posts by the Twitter account Aircraft Spots. The EP-3 was seen circling above the same area, Aircraft Spots said, adding that other planes from the fleet were seen in the past few days
A Taipei resident who had breached his home quarantine order was found on Tuesday night in an Internet cafe and fined NT$1 million (US$32,976), Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday, as the Taipei City Government announced a short-term COVID-19 relief plan. Huang on Tuesday afternoon publicized the name of the man, Chen Tse (陳冊), who on Saturday last week returned from Beijing and was ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine. However, city monitoring officials were unable to contact him by mobile phone or at his home. Chen was found by police at an Internet cafe on Nanyang Street, Huang said
ACCLIMATION: Chen Shih-chung said that only ‘soft’ policies have been carried out so far, but ‘hard’ measures would be implemented if the coronavirus situation worsens The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday recommended that indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be canceled, as 19 new imported cases of COVID-19 were announced, bringing the total number in Taiwan to 235. “The center recommends that from now, indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be suspended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 community transmission,” said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center. Event organizers should refer to six indicators listed in the response guidelines