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July 21, 2017

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4 killed in Taipei MRT stabbing spree

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Four people were killed and 21 injured when a 21-year-old college student went on a killing spree on a Taipei Metro train traveling from Longshan Temple Station to Jiangzicui Station, the New Taipei City Police Department said yesterday.

Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩), head of the New Taipei City Police Department, said that the assailant, Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), is now in custody after being arrested by the metro police with the help of other passengers.

Chen said that Cheng took the metro train from Jiangzicui station to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station after purchasing two knives at a supermarket yesterday afternoon, later taking another train going in the opposite direction from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station.

"He started to stab random passengers with his 30-centimeter long knife in the train after it left from Longshan Temple Station to Jiangzicui Station, a trip that usually takes over two minutes, which is the longest ride in the entire Taipei Metro system," said Chen.

According to witnesses of the incident, Cheng stabbed everyone in his sight without saying anything, and passengers started to run toward the back of the train.

A witness said that she started to hear people screaming after the train left Longshan Temple Station, and she stood against the wall of the compartment with a few girls. She said that some middle-aged men stood in front of them to protect them.

Based on a video filmed by a witness, all passengers rushed out of the train after it arrived at Jiangzicui Station, and Cheng walked out of the train with the knife in his hand. The metro police and some passengers tackled him in the MRT station and helped police officers take him into custody.

According to Chen, three passengers who were severely injured had no vital signs after being sent to nearby hospitals, where they were later pronounced dead. Another victim was also pronounced dead five hours later at a hospital.

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