TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) is on alert for persons acting suspiciously after two different netizens over the course of three days have issued threats to kill passengers on the Taipei MRT.
Many passengers on Taipei's MRT are on edge about threats by netizens to attack passengers and they say it has affected their willingness to take the mass transit system. The TRTC said that after it received news of the threats, the control center has notified the whole system to pay more attention to unusual persons and behavior, while also reminding passengers to be aware of their surroundings to ensure their own safety and not fixate on their mobile phones.
On Sunday (July 21), a 17-year-old vocational school student surnamed Liao (廖) uploaded a Facebook post in which she wrote, "Going to kill at the exit 1 of the Neihu MRT Station at 7 o'clock tonight." On Monday (July 22), Taoyuan police were able to track the woman down and arrest her.
Screenshot from Facebook of Liao's threat.
On Tuesday (July 23), another netizen who goes by the handle "ruijiangli" wrote a comment on an online news forum, "I am going to kill people at random on the Bannan Line [Ximen Station] today!" Shortly afterward, ruijiangli posted another comment changing the site of the attack to the High Speed Rail station in Kaohsiung.
Screenshot of comments by ruijiangli.
In the wake of the threats, some MRT passengers admitted that they were worried about riding the MRT and that they are considering taking a taxi or other means of transport instead, reported Liberty Times. Others said that although they know that many trolls make idle threats online, they are still going to be more alert while riding the MRT and keep an eye out for suspicious people in their carriage.
The TRTC said that after receiving the relevant information, the control center immediately notified the entire system to pay attention to unusual persons and suspicious behavior. The company is also cooperating with police in investigating the threats.
In response to the threats, police officers have stepped up patrols from platforms to elevators and ticket machines, with more than 20 officers present at Ximen Station alone, reported TVBS. More than 100 police officers have been deployed to cover the MRT's 117 stations in Taipei City and New Taipei City, according to the report.
The TRTC reminds passengers that if they see any abnormal situation, they can notify the driver via the intercom system or tell attendants at the station. It also calls on the public to pay special attention to their surroundings and avoid focusing on swiping their mobile phones as a means to ensure greater personal safety."