Crazed man brandishes knife in Taipei TRA train station

Knife wielding man at Songshan TRA station in Taipei shouts he wants to be next 'Cheng Chieh'

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Stills from suspect's live stream on Facebook.

Stills from suspect's live stream on Facebook.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Passengers waiting for a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) at a station in Taipei this morning were frightened by a disturbed man who suddenly pulled out a knife and started shouting that he wanted to be the next Cheng Chieh, reported Apple Daily.

Late this morning, a man appearing to suffer a mental illness suddenly began to brandish a knife on the platform the Songshan Station in Taipei's Songshan District. Station staff alerted police, and after a bystander and station staff member subdued him, he was taken into custody.

According to an eye-witness on the Taiwanese online forum PTT, while riding a commuter train bound for Keelung-bound at 11:20 a.m., a man could be heard shouting "I want to be the next Cheng Chieh!" A woman sitting across from him then shouted back "What are you doing?"

The woman then bolted out of the train and the man was in hot pursuit with his knife in hand.

Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) was a student at Tunghai University who randomly attacked passengers on the Taipei Metro in May 2014, killing four people and injuring dozens. He was executed for his crimes in May 2016.

TRA confirmed that 11:20 a.m., there was a passenger seen carrying knife on Platform No. 2 at the Songshan Station. After dispatching the railway police, the passenger had been taken into custody by 11:24 a.m.

A TRA passenger surnamed Chang (張) witnessed the incident and captured it with his smartphone. Chang told Apple Daily that he was listening to music and sat across from the suspect while the train was still rolling.

Chang said the man sat alone, but continuously laughed. Chang said the man appeared to be suffering a mental illness and no one dared to sit next to him.


Scrapes inflicted by suspect on Lin. (TRA image)

As the train arrived at Songshan Station, Chang saw a woman wearing a pantsuit suddenly stand up and dart out of the car. He then noticed that the man was carrying a knife as he ran out of the car after her.

The woman then began running toward a flight of stairs as the suspect chased her with the blade still in hand. A staff member on the stairway surnamed Lin (林) told Apple Daily that he tried to persuade the man to calm down.

At the same time, a bystander with a backpack watched the suspect warily from behind. The suspect then sat down on the steps and started to hysterically rant.

Suddenly, he stood up and tried to chase Lin, but the bystander rushed from behind and swung his backpack at the suspect's knife-wielding hand, making him stumble forward on the steps. Lin then took advantage of the distraction to grab the suspect's arm, pin it with his hip, and then toss the blade away.


Knife sheath suspect left on floor of TRA train. (Image from PTT)

Several other station personnel then swarmed onto the man to help subdue him. Police said that no injuries have been reported thus far.

After an initial investigation, police said that suspect is a 30-year-old man surnamed Kao (高).

On Monday (March 25), Kao posted a message on Facebook: "The day after tomorrow I've decided to copy the 'Cheng Chieh case.'" Kao shared many news articles about Cheng on his Facebook page and made threats such as, "I am Satan. I feel the urge to kill people."

While riding the TRA train this morning, Kao broadcasted a live stream on Facebook. As he neared Songshan Station, he shouted "I want to be Cheng Chieh," before ending the broadcast.