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MRT assailant detained in solitary confinement

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The New Taipei District Court yesterday morning ruled that MRT stabbing incident suspect Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) was to be held in an individual room at the Taipei Detention Center.

The 21-year-old suspect boarded a train of the Taipei Metro on Wednesday afternoon and went on a stabbing spree between Longshan Temple Station and Jiagzicui Station. Four people were killed and 23 were injured by Cheng, New Taipei prosecutors said.

After a questioning session held at the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office (NTDPO), prosecutors at 4:35 a.m. yesterday requested to detain Cheng and hold him incommunicado on charges of homicide.

The district court held a court session at 6:05 a.m. and 15 minutes later ruled that Cheng would be detained.

The court said there is enough reason to prevent him from leaving the country due to the nature of the charges, noting that, moreover, Cheng's alleged crimes have endangered public security, therefore, the court decided to detain him.

The court said, however, as Cheng confessed to his crimes during the questioning session at the prosecutors' office and in the court session, it believes that it is not necessary to hold him incommunicado.

The court further added that during the court session, Cheng answered every question in a logical way and described the process and his motives of the incident clearly.

After the stabbing incident, Cheng was first taken to the Jiangcui Police Station then to the Haishan Precinct of New Taipei City. At around 2:39 a.m. yesterday Cheng was transferred to the district prosecutors' office for further investigation.

Victims' families and friends waited outside the Jiangzicui Police Station when the police escorted Cheng to the precinct. Crowds attempted to hit the suspect, but were prevented by police.

The Taipei Detention Center said that in consideration of the safety of Cheng and other detainees, it decided to hold Cheng in an individual room, adding that it will also request that guards pay extra attention to Cheng's safety.

A judicial police officer told local reporters that when the court ruled that Cheng be detained, he asked Cheng if he wanted to apologize to the victims' families and Cheng replied “why would I?”

New Taipei Police Department Commissioner Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩) said that during the questioning session at the police station Cheng asked a police officer if he would be sentenced to death.

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Families of victims of the MRT stabbing incident attempt to hit the suspect Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), red shirt, yesterday in front of the Jiangzicui Police Station in New Taipei City. Police separated the emotional crowd from the suspect. (CNA)

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