Wed, Jul 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Slain railway police officer honored at funeral service

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

High-ranking police officials cover the coffin of railway police officer Lee Cheng-han with a national flag at his funeral in Chiayi yesterday.

Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times

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.

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

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