A suspect in an attempted robbery committed in Yongkang District (永康), Taipei, on Wednesday morning was apprehended yesterday, the Daan District (大安) police precinct said.
The police said a 50-year-old man surnamed Hu (胡), who had a record of robbery and manslaughter, was their primary suspect after reviewing CCTV footage from the area.
Police said they apprehended Hu at his residence in Wanhua District (萬華) at 7am yesterday.
The police said they found a foldable knife, clothes and a bicycle at the residence that matched items used during the attempted robbery and brought Hu in for questioning.
The police said Hu decided to rob a 66-year-old woman surnamed Lin (林) on the spur of the moment because he found himself without any money when he arrived in the Yongkang area.
Lin is the wife of Peng Jui-peng (彭瑞鵬), the former head of Taipei City Hospital and now a chest medicine consultant at Taipei Veterans’ General Hospital.
Hu was quoted by the police as saying that he attempted to grab Lin’s purse, whom he saw exiting the Xinyi District (信義) branch of Huanan Bank at about 10am on Wednesday. Police said Hu thought that she had just completed a withdrawal, as she was carrying several bags.
Lin said she had gone to the bank on business and had bought some sushi from a store on Lienyun Street (連雲) when Hu attacked her, adding that she only had a couple of thousand New Taiwan dollars in her purse and some identification.
Taipei City Hospital Renai branch deputy director Hsiao Sheng-uang (蕭勝煌) said that the ligaments on two of Lin’s fingers on her right hand had ruptured and that there were minor scrapes on her cheeks, eye socket and her nose.
Police quoted witnesses of the alleged attempted robbery as saying that the two had been tussling on the ground and fighting over the purse for nearly 10 minutes, but none of the passersby had attempted to stop Hu.
Hu is charged with robbery and attempted manslaughter, police said.
Responding to criticism about the city’s safety, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新) said that it has been a long time since there had been an attempted robbery like this case in Taipei and he was shocked that such an event had occurred in Yongkang.
Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄) said the case highlighted the need to step up regular patrols in key areas and maintain the city’s safety.
In response, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said he has directed the city’s police department to prioritize the case due to the negative impact on residents’ view of the city government over the alleged attempted robbery, especially as it happened during the day.
Additional reporting by Chiang Hsiang, Sung Hsiao-hai and Tu Chu-min