Sat, Dec 15, 2018 - Page 2 News List

‘Yongkang Street Mugger’ denied bail after alleged attack

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A man known as the “Yongkang Street Mugger” has been charged with committing a violent robbery on Yongkang Street in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) on Nov. 25, in which a woman received knife cuts to her face, just after his release from prison, where he served a four-year sentence for a similar crime.

Taipei prosecutors charged 58-year-old Hu Tong-wen (胡同文) with robbery and assault causing physical harm, saying that he followed the woman, slashed at her face with a box cutter and ran away with her purse.

The incident was captured by surveillance cameras in the area.

Witnesses who ran after the assailant helped to capture Hu a few hours later and police identified him based on the video footage and found a box cutter on him.

Police investigators said that Hu at first denied he was the assailant, but admitted to the crime after being confronted with the video footage, saying that he was short on money and decided to steal a purse.

The victim was a Malaysian tourist surnamed Chang (張). She was rushed to a local hospital with three lacerations on her face and required surgery.

Hu has a long criminal record.

On Jan. 8, 2014, he attacked a woman on Yongkang Street with a switchblade, slashing her face and neck area several times before grabbing her purse and shopping bag.

Hu was first convicted in 1988, when at age 29 he randomly attacked pedestrians on Taipei’s Yenping N Road, stabbing 10 schoolchildren and several women at a bus stop.

The victims sustained various injuries, with one woman nearly losing sight in one eye.

Hu was convicted, but received a reduced term, after his lawyer argued that he had mental problems.

After being released from prison, Hu was convicted of robbery and assault twice more in separate incidents in 2002 and 2006.

Family members said that Hu has mental problems and a short temper, and is easily angered.

He has few friends and lived alone, with his elder sister paying the rent, they said.

Hu has been denied bail and is being kept in judicial detention pending his trial due to his record of violent crimes and the fear he has caused in society.

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