Taipei mayor visits scene of MRT carnage

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin put flowers at Jiangzicui Mass Rapid Transit Station in New Taipei City Saturday to pay tribute to the four victims of Wednesday’s stabbing.
A 21-year-old sophomore from Tunghai University in Taichung, Cheng Chieh, was arrested after he killed four passengers and injured more than 20, presumably because he wanted to “do something big.”
Hau went to add his flowers to the many bouquets already placed outside the station. He also called on citizens to use the MRT more. Since the deaths, the number of passengers dropped by more than 100,000, according to official statistics.
The mayor also offered fruit and cake to the staff and to security guards at the MRT station. He expressed thanks for the support of the public for what he described as the safest, cleanest and most orderly subway station in the world.
“One isolated incident cannot be allowed to destroy everybody’s faith in the MRT,” Hau said, adding he would also use the trains more for his official duties if he had the opportunity.
The mayor also called on members of the public to be vigilant and to alert the authorities if they say something or someone suspicious in their surroundings. He left Jiangzicui by MRT to return to Taipei City, reports said.
One of the main contenders to succeed Hau as mayor in December, independent physician Ko Wen-je, said Saturday that the most important thing was not how to punish the perpetrator, but how to prevent a similar incident from happening again. If he were mayor, he would open a hotline where citizens could receive psychological assistance to help them overcome present concerns about MRT safety, he said.
The killings also touched off a renewed debate about the existence of the death penalty in Taiwan. Opponents argued that its existence had not scared off Cheng, and that it therefore should be abolished. Ko said he neither supported nor opposed the death penalty, but since more than 70 percent of the public wanted to keep it, the government should follow mainstream public opinion.