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Suspect claims pepper spray caused him to kill southern Taiwan cops

Lin allegedly stabbed officers after being sprayed with pepper spray, chased by patrol car

Lin Hsin-wu's Facebook page (left), Lin being arrested on Aug. 23. (Facebook, Lin Hsin-wu and CNA photos)

Lin Hsin-wu's Facebook page (left), Lin being arrested on Aug. 23. (Facebook, Lin Hsin-wu and CNA photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The man suspected of fatally stabbing two police officers claims that he perpetrated the assault because he had become enraged when an officer doused him with pepper spray.

The incident occurred on Monday morning (Aug. 22), when 36 year-old Tu Ming-cheng (凃明誠) and 27 year-old Tsao Jui-chieh (曹瑞傑) pursued a 46-year-old suspect identified as Lin Hsin-wu (林信吾), who they believed to have stolen a motorcycle. A struggle ensued with Lin inflicting fatal knife wounds on Tu and Tsao, before fleeing the scene by motorcycle, having taken the gun of the sole armed officer and two magazines with 18 rounds of ammunition.

After allegedly murdering the police officers, Lin washed off the blood, discarded the motorcycle, and took a taxi south to Kaohsiung City, before taking a Ho-Hsin bus to northern Taiwan at 1 a.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 23). Police managed to locate him around the Ho-Hsin Bus Station on Jincheng 1st Road in Hsinchu City at 4:36 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when they arrested him.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Tainan City Police Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) said Lin had told officers prior to the incident, he had been drinking alcohol in a cemetery, reported CNA. While searching for Lin at the cemetery, Tu, who was in a patrol car with Tsao, stepped out of the vehicle to search for Lin on foot.

Tu suddenly encountered Lin, who resisted arrest and pulled a knife on the officer. Tu responded by spraying Lin with pepper spray to try to subdue him. However, the pepper spray caused Lin to go into a fit of rage, rush toward Tu, and slash his throat with the knife.

While Tsao continued to patrol the cemetery, he spotted Tu on the ground covered in blood and motionless. Tsao, who was not armed with a gun, then tried to ram Lin with his squad car.

Lin grabbed Tu's gun and fired at least six shots, with four hitting the right side of Tsao's vehicle. Tsao lost control of the patrol car, and it careened onto a field.

Lin then allegedly managed to deliver a fatal stab wound to Tsao's neck. However, Fang emphasized that these events are based on Lin's account and the police are suspicious of the veracity of some of the details.

Prosecutors have directed a team of forensic experts to reconstruct the crime scene to better assess the exact circumstances of the killings.