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June 24, 2017

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Metro killer's detention extended by court approval

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The New Taipei District Prosecutors Office yesterday received permission from the Taipei District Court to extend the detention of Taipei Metro killer Cheng Chieh (鄭捷).

Cheng has been detained for nearly two months after going on a killing spree on the Taipei Metro between Longshan Temple Station and Jiangzicui Station in May. He killed four people and injured 21, claiming afterwards that he felt "glad" about his actions and that he had planned it for a long time.

Although the prosecution allegedly "hurried" to indict Cheng, it filed for an extended detention as Cheng's psychological evaluation reports were not yet released.

There is a possibility that Cheng may be indicted next Monday.

The court yesterday approved the prosecution's application for an extended detention, allowing Cheng to stay in detention for an additional two months.

According to New Taipei prosecutors, Cheng seemed calm and collected when he showed up in court and heard the approval for his extended detention.

Cheng Expresses Wish to Have Roommates

Cheng has been staying in a one-inmate room since the beginning of his detention because the prosecution and the Taipei Detention Center were concerned that he may hurt other inmates or get injured by others.

After two months of solitude, Cheng seemed lonely and asked for the detention center to assign roommates for him, said center officials.

The detention center has not yet approved Cheng's request, saying that it would need the evaluation of psychologists, counselors and guards before the decision could be made. "Even if we allow Cheng to switch cells, we still need to choose an inmate who has committed a minor crime, is well-behaved, mentally whole and does not hold anything against Cheng to become his cellmate," said a detention center staff member. "All this is a safety precaution."

The detention center staff also stated that Cheng has adapted to his life in detention fairly well, and he will read old newspapers and books occasionally or will spend his time doing pushups and various exercises. "We will also arrange for counselors to enter his cell and chat with him in order to better understand Cheng's mental and physical wellbeing.

No Mental Illness Records: Police

Cheng told police that he had been planning on doing something huge that would shock society ever since he was a junior high school student, also telling a close friend that he originally planned to commit this killing spree after he graduated from college.

According to a New Taipei police officer, there is no medical record that shows that Cheng has any mental illness, and he comes from an average family that lives near Jiangzicui Station.

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