MRT slasher indicted, could face death penalty
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-21 02:32 PM
Two months after being taken into custody on May 21, Tunghai University sophomore Cheng Chieh was indicted Monday morning for a slashing attack at Taipei MRT Jiangzicui Station that left 4 dead and 24 injured. The random attack was the first fatal incident of its kind on the busy commuter railway and shocked the entire nation with its ferocity and audacity.

On Monday Cheng was brought before a judge and charged with the four murders and injuries. Prosecutors from the Taipei District Prosecutors Office held a press conference at 10am to announce that Cheng has been charged with four murders and 22 attempted murders and they will ask the court to impose the death penalty in the case.

They added that National Taiwan University Hospital was asked to perform a psychiatric evaluation of Cheng to determine his mental state before, during and after the May 21 incident as well as his current condition.

The report from the NTU psychiatric evaluation noted that Cheng showed no evidence of insanity or mental incapacity. He does, however, exhibit several antisocial and narcissistic personality tendencies and maintains a pessimistic attitude which asserts that the world is nothing and life is meaningless.

A prosecution spokesman said Cheng told an NTU physician that he has long harbored a desire to exact revenge on two female co-students he quarreled with while in elementary school. Later he changed his mind and decided that instead of killing the two women he would carry out a random mass killing.

Cheng’s alleged killings on the afternoon of May 21 have inspired several threats such as one youth who said "I want to do the same thing on the Kaohsiung MRT" and similar taunts from other would-be copycat killers. Police and authorities are taking such threats seriously, and the security presence has been increased in stations and cars throughout the MRT system.

Several days after the stabbing incident, on May 26 ,a man wearing a camouflage jacket and helmet and carrying a bag suspected of holding weapons was arrested on the MRT. He was detained and charged with causing public disorder and threatening to endanger public safety and social order. Other after-effects of the May 21 incident were a drop-off in ridership throughout the system as well as a noticeable decrease in the number of riders absorbed in their mobile communication devices.

Following the announcement of Cheng’s indictment, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said that the Taipei City Government respects and supports the judiciary in handling the MRT case. He said the government will continue working to restore the public’s confidence in the safety and security of the MRT system as it strives to improve the quality of overall service on the railway system.

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