Mass Stabbing on Taipei MRT, Taiwanese Netizen Reactions

Zheng Jie, apprehended for the killing 4, and injuring over 20 people on the Taipei MRT.(photo by NOW news)

On Wednesday May 21st, Taipei’s MRT experienced it’s first ever mass stabbing incident, leaving 4 dead, and over 20 injured. The incident left Taipei citizens shocked at the severity of the crime, with many expressing disbelief that such an incident could occur in Taiwan. In the hours after the news broke, Taiwanese netizen attention immediately turned to appropriate punishment for the suspect, with many netizens strongly voicing their opinion in favour of the death penalty. Some netizens in Taiwan abrogated an immediate execution for Cheng Chieh, the suspect in the case, and also harshly criticized proponents of abolishing the death penalty in Taiwan.

News of the event has been the top trending article on Taiwan’s version of Yahoo News.

From Apple Daily Taiwan:

Murder on the MRT: First-ever random homicide incident on the Taipei MRT leaves 4 dead 22 injured

A terrifying stabbing incident unexpectedly occurred on the Taipei MRT today, as a male bearing a knife suddenly began stabbing passengers at random in an MRT train car. Eyewitnesses have pointed out that an estimated 22 people have been stabbed. As the MRT train arrived at JiangZiCui Station, a large number of passengers forced train doors opened to rush out, among whom 4 have already passed away from injuries. Police and fire departments have sent the injured to the hospital, and the criminal suspect has already been taken into custody. The prosecution has already sent out three investigators to respectively move forward on autoposies.

An eyewitness pointed out, a thick scent of alcohol could be smelled on the suspect before he committed the violent crime; the motive for the violent attack is still being understood by the police. (Incident Management Centre/New Taipei City Report)

The police arrest the suspect of the violent crime. Photo provided by public

The police arrest the suspect of the violent crime. Photo provided by public

a bystander slashed in the calf. Photo by Huang Kai-dong.

a bystander slashed in the calf. Photo by Huang Kai-dong.

Police and Fire depts. bring one of the injured to the hospital to receive emergency care. (Apple Daily)

Police and fire departments. bring one of the injured to the hospital to receive emergency care. (Apple Daily)

Police and Fire Departments delivers a victim to the hospital for emergency care.

Police and fire departments take a victim to the hospital for emergency care.

The suspect meets with arrest. Photo from NextTV.

The suspect being arrested. Photo from NextTV.

Taipei MRT JiangZiCui Station experienced an insane slashing incident today. File photo.

A crazed knife attack occurred at the Taipei MRT JiangZiCui Station this afternoon [at time of original report]. File photo.

From Yahoo Taiwan:

Man has no regrets over stabbing passengers to death on the Taipei MRT: Has wanted to do something big since childhood

A horrifying assault incident occurred on the 21st on Taipei’s MRT. At 4:26pm, a young man began wildly stabbing passengers on an MRT train car, which currently has left 4 people dead, and 25 sent to the hospital with injuries. New Taipei City police chief Chen Guo-en indicated that the male suspect had planned since childhood to do something “big”, and originally planned to commit his crime after graduating from university, but last week suddenly thought about doing something today.

According to current knowledge, the 21-year-old male involved in the case is a university student studying at Tunghai University’s department of science and engineering, named Cheng Chieh [Zheng Jie]. Before boarding the MRT, Zheng purchased two knives used in the incident, with one knife measuring as long as 30 centimetres. At Longshan Temple station, Zheng began wielding a knife inside the train car, stabbing passengers at random. Consequently, as the MRT arrived at JiangZiCui Station, the doors opened and passengers immediately began fleeing for their lives. A passenger who witnessed the event expressed: “We ran back and forth panic-stricken, trying to find a safe place to hide. In all my 30 years of life, this is the first time I’ve felt I just lived through something like the plot of an American TV series!”

New Taipei City Police Chief Chen Guo-en indicated that the man did not have a mental ailment nor did he have any medical treatment history. His blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.04 and the suspect professed to only have drank sparkling water. From a young age, the suspect had seen cases of a similar nature, and since primary school started to think about doing a “something big”, originally planning to commit a crime after graduating university, but suddenly deciding last week that he would do it today instead.

Chen Guo-en said the suspect planned the attack well in advance, and while in high school and university, Zheng would tell friends about his plan to commit a crime. Moreover, as the suspect is from New Taipei City’s Haishan District, the area where he committed the crime would be part of his daily commute. During the investigation and interrogation, the man expressed a complete lack of regret for his crime.

What more, passengers who witnessed the event also expressed unhappily that, while the crime occurred, MRT workers did not immediately participate in helping people flee or hide, and said passengers would have to wait until the MRT police arrived to handle the problem. Currently, the suspect involved in the case has already been placed under arrest by the police and is currently being interrogated, with the details of his motive still being investigated by the police. In regards to the whole incident, Taipei MRT officials have yet to make any response or statement.

Comments from Yahoo Taiwan:

冷楓雲忻

Since he has no remorse at all, just give him the death penalty. Your people from the “barking-to-death alliance” [original text is 吠死聯盟, a pun on “abolish death penalty alliance”] and “human dog organizations” [original text is 人犬團體, a pun on “human rights organizations”] can give it a rest, as locking him up would mean wasting money keeping this kind of guy alive.

多喝水

Absolutely ridiculous, was there really no one who dared to step forward and stop him? In the news report I saw, the murder suspect had a butterfly knife… Did no one have a bag or an umbrella in their hand to help stop him?

徐 (responding to above)

If I was on the train, I’d kill him for sure!!!

魚丸

I don’t get it.
There’s already eyewitness testimony, and material evidence.
Why do we still have to wait for a court judgment, as opposed to just immediately sentencing him to death?

Imtedwu

It is precisely because of the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights that this man could be so unbridled. Shouldn’t the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty and Taiwan Association for Human Rights come out and say something now?

L6194

Why didn’t the police just shoot him dead on the spot…………..

Comments from Apple Daily Taiwan:

鄒約瑟

Sentencing him to death is faster.
Those that were [sentenced but not yet executed] before should also be carried out.
It shouldn’t be [the president] putting on a show by executing a few after just taking office, but instead clearing out death row all at once.
That [keeping death row inmates alive] is just wasting taxpayers’ money.

陳孟淳

They’re definitely going to say he has a mental disorder, severe depression, is manic depressive, or something and thus say the death penalty isn’t necessary.

Andy Lin

Seeing this fills me with anguish……
When I ride the MRT and I smell alcohol
I get a nauseated and uneasy feeling
Turns out what I was afraid of was…
encountering this kind of deathly disaster…..
I’m sad, a moment of silence for the departed

李紹強

Fuck! That criminal who crazily cut people down should have his dick cut off and allowed to bleed out, then use a durian to wildly bash his head, then stuff a baseball bat up his asshole! After that, alcohol should be sprayed all over his wounds, and then sprinkle salt.

劉威宏 (responding to above)

How about spraying insecticide on him, and then throwing a lighter on him, to roast him alive?

楊妍芯

If he’s so brave and fierce, he should’ve bought himself a ticket to Vietnam and kill at random to vent his anger, and it would even help avenge Taiwan. What’s the point of bullying your own people? What a pest, this kind of person should be given the death penalty to be carried out immediately. If he’s just sentenced to eight or ten years in jail, he’ll just come back out and be an even bigger ticking time bomb in society.

古斯法柏 (responding to above)

If he went to hack up little Vietnam, I would click upvote.

Hikaru Takamizawa (responding to above)

Going to Vietnam to vent anger by hacking people up would give rise to an international incident.
What kind of dog shit idea is that?

Mark Chen

I’d like to see you motherfuckers at the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty pull out an explanation for this kind of situation.

郭浩恩

Taiwan only knows how to protect pieces of trash like this. He’ll make bail very quickly, just you wait and see!!

Yuhsi Chang

Just wait and see, this scum will say that he was depressed over unemployment and not having money to eat.
Since hacking a few people to death won’t result in the death penalty, he can then just go into prison and eat for free.
Then all the blame will be put on the government.

郭泓毅 (responding to above)

He’s still a student, so he probably won’t say that.
However, I’m guessing someone will shortly say:
“My son is a good boy; he must have fallen in with a bad crowd!!”

Angel April

So frightening~! And this is actually on the MRT blue line I take every day. Even worse, it’s also the stop that I get off at too. All my friends who live close by, you are all okay, right?!

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  • China needs to send tanks and war ships to Taiwan…to send a loud and clear message

    • Zappa Frank

      where is the bukkake? and what Confucius said about it?

    • Irvin

      I agree, tanks and ships solve all problems, we should send tanks and ships to the sun to alleviate global warming.

  • Surfeit

    Crazy dudes be everywhere!

  • Markus Peg

    “Has wanted to do something big since childhood”
    Fat girl?…

    • Irvin

      Now I know I did something “big”.
      But it was over weighted…..I mean overrated, so never again. lol

      • Surfeit

        I’ve been there too! Though I’ll never say never.

        • Irvin

          Next time I’d remember to call home to my parents and said “momma! I did something big!” lol

    • satuon

      That’s called a Herostratic fame – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herostratus.

      • ScottLoar

        The same as the man who set fire to Namdaemun, The Great South Gate and National Treasure no. 1, in Seoul, a nobody craving notice.

        • Irvin

          The key to these acts is being first and do it big enough.

          A few dead random nobodies wouldn’t get anyone into history, no one is gonna remember the dude in the article in a week.

          Another thing is to do things that people can empathize with, trying to bomb parlament like guy fawkes, even though he failed, got him in the history books.

      • Rick in China

        Aaaaaaaaannndd, we named the type of crime after him, and are still mentioning him ~2400 yrs later. I’d say he accomplished his goal.. not a very good precedent.

  • firebert5

    “It is precisely because of the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty and theTaiwan Association for Human Rights that this man could be so unbridled. ”

    So, since the mainland neither has an Alliance to End the Death Penalty, nor an Association for Human Rights, what’s their excuse for so many school stabbings?

    • Insomnicide

      It’s not supposed to stop crime completely. Just speed up the process of punishment.

    • Aaron Wytze

      Actually, I should have included some of the comments I’ve seen from other articles about Cheng Chieh. A lot of the initial comments that appeared when the incident first occurred were along the lines of “this only happens on the opposite side of the strait” and “maybe the attacker was from China.”

    • arterius2

      Did you factor in the size of population between the two countries to make that ridiculous assumption? Where are your facts? Lets see the math behind this.

      Why don’t you first explain what’s America’s excuse for so many school shootings? or just shootings in general? Oh you don’t want to bring America into this? Then why bring China into an incident about Taiwan?

      • ScottLoar

        America’s excuse for so many school shootings? The universal human tendency to believe something is commonplace if you can find just a few examples, and far less likely to believe in something you’ve never seen or heard before. Example: In Taiwan in the 70’s I had asked a school principal what is the most common problem among students. He said, sniffing glue. The Chinese audience went hysterical in denial because they had no prior experience of the problem.

        As to mass shootings in the US;

        “Speaking of statistics, here are a few others that ought to be relevant to policy makers:

        “*Homicide rates in the United States are lower now than they have been at almost any time in the last century, having fallen by more than 50% since 1991.

        “*Mass shootings, even using the very broad definition employed by the FBI (4 persons, not including the perpetrator), make up a tiny fraction of homicides – usually less than one percent.”

        See here, ideas.time.com/2013/09/18/navy-yard-whiplash-are-killings-going-up-or-down/ and elsewhere. See also, The Culture of Fear by Barry Glasner noting that “during the time when Columbine and school shootings got major media attention, violence in schools was down over 30 percent” (p. 71, You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney). “A typical school kid is three times more likely to get hit by lightning than to be shot by a classmate, yet schools continue to guard against it as if it could happen at any second” (ibid.).

      • Rick in China

        “Then why bring China into an incident about Taiwan?”

        So you support the idea that Taiwan is NOT China, and Taiwan is an independent country?

        Interesting.

        • arterius2

          Should I be? Of course Taiwan is not China – this is fact, why would I blindly reassure myself otherwise? A Chinese person would not be able to freely enter Taiwan, even requiring a visa, if Taiwan is indeed part of China, then it would be part of China. I would gain nothing from self denial.

          • noodles76

            Oh dear…please oh please tell that to the 1.3b Mainlanders.

          • I’d say most of the younger mainlanders I’ve met (mostly college students, in china & the states) don’t give a fuck about Taiwan being its own country.

          • Rick in China

            Great! Now that we’ve established that, let me answer your question:

            The comment was on a Chinese message board in simplified Chinese. We can assume the poster is a mainland Chinese, criticising Taiwan’s policy. So – in firebert’s analysis of the critique of Taiwan’s policy as the cause, he simply pointed out the glass house the translated poster was living in.

            That, arterius, is why it’s appropriate to respond bringing China’s policy into the discussion – because the quote was made by someone presumably from or in China.

    • bprichard

      Every study done indicates that there is no correlation between using the death penalty and deterring crime. I think it’s about time people stop pretending that the death penalty is about anything other than vengeance. If a society decides that vengeance is a noble aspiration, I don’t really want to be a part of it.

  • mr.wiener

    People are still as jumpy as all hell about this.
    Some idiot was arrested on the MRT today in full camo helmet balaclava and imitation M16 [uncovered if you please, not in its carry bag]
    Too many people saying “I’d have beat him up if I was there”….yeah right….
    I did see film of a bunch of old guys with umbrellas keeping the little douche at bay on the train. Then they jumped him and beat the shit out of him at the station..
    Police reaction time to that station, 20 mins. Not good, has to improve.

    • Surfeit

      Can you link me to that whiz?!

      • mr.wiener

        Here’s the view in the train.

        I think the people kept their heads pretty well.

        • Surfeit

          I’ll be taking my umbrella everywhere from here on in.

    • Butsu

      Wait, it took the police 20 min to get there? That’s really bad.

    • Aaron Wytze

      I’m working on that story about the camouflage idiot tomorrow.

      • mr.wiener

        Thanks mate, good job on this story.

  • Insomnicide

    He told his friends about how he wanted to commit this crime and none of them stopped him, is that right?

    • Surfeit

      YEAAAP! Apparently, no one thought to mention it to an adult, or therapist, or the police!

    • TheFlyingBanana

      As far as I-ve heard, he only mentioned he was going to do something big. So, his classmates probably didn-t have a clue about what he was talking about.

  • don mario

    this guy should get a new penalty.

    he should be fed a diet of poop until he dies, or if he lives from it he can stay alive but the punishment of a life of eating poop will be a worse fate than death anyway.

    no taxes will be spent on keeping this guy alive because human poop is free. and there will be less pollution in taiwan from less toilet usage as a result.. its a win win.

  • No death penalty. He needs to realize what he has done. To change, and work for the society he harmed. Sounds difficult, but the easy way is never the right way, and doesn’t solve anything.

    • noodles76

      The death penalty is not meant to solve anything. It’s purely a punishment.

      If he changed tomorrow and became a saint it still would not erase the harm he has caused. “The easy was is never right” ??? What kind of nonsense is that? The only thing ‘never right’ is speaking in absolutes.

      • If our current system is “not meant to solve anything”, perhaps we should consider a different approach…

        • noodles76

          Fairly sure you can comprehend written words so….how about you read what I wrote again. I was referring to the death penalty, not the system in general. The comment I was responding to was also talking about the death penalty, not the system in general.

          • By “system”, I was referring to our systematic use of the death penalty.

          • noodles76

            How is that ‘our’ system? It’s not employed in every state and it’s not employed often in many states that do permit it. Many states have less than 20 folks sentenced to death and I think we both know it’s more than a little common for people to sit on death row for many years.

          • I think you’re reading a little too much into my use of the word “system”. I was simply referring to the death penalty not being meant to solve anything and yet still being used.

          • noodles76

            It’s a punishment…as I said in my original response. What’s hard to get about that? Frankly, I disagree with it as a punishment as it is employed in the states which allow execution.

      • Irvin

        “The only thing ‘never right’ is speaking in absolutes.” while I agree with the idea, the irony is that that statement is a absolute.

        • noodles76

          Yeah, you’re quite astute to have noticed.

      • wnsk

        Punishment for whom? Many killers in fact want to die, or are prepared to face death. I don’t think they would view it as a punishment. In fact, the whole concept of punishment is only supposed to be a means to solve undesirable behaviour, and really isn’t–or shouldn’t be–an end in itself (unless we’re talking about masochists/sado-masochists.)

        The death penalty, if not seen a practical solution, can only be seen as petty and pointless “revenge.”

        • Surfeit

          But without revenge, we wouldn’t have Magneto…

          • wnsk

            Magneto isn’t about revenge. He’s about the preservation of mutant-kind, and resisting the oppression of humanity,,,wait, why am I indulging you?

          • Surfeit

            HAHA! I’m referring to his pursuit of Sebastian Shaw.

        • noodles76

          I agree with most of what you said…
          Though punishment is just punishment. It has no direct relation to curbing or altering behavior. Punishment is not supposed to do anything except….punish.

          The idea of rehabilitation through incarceration has pretty much been given up on and rightfully so imo. Prison in general and the death penalty in particular is simple punishment at best and revenge at worst.

          • wnsk

            If it’s just “simple punishment at best and revenge at worst,” then perhaps we should–as Matt suggests–consider a different approach. Although I have no idea what other approaches there are. Perhaps @disqus_sZe140t687:disqus does.

          • noodles76

            A different approach to what? To punishment? In the world I live in there are consequences for one’s actions. If one’s actions are deemed by society as a whole (not each individual) to be detrimental and/or dangerous to that society than I am not sure an alternative to punishment (hugs?) should be considered.

            Long story short…if ya’ fuck up, you pay a price.

    • hehehehh

      no death penalty, just let him rot for a long time….

  • 5000 years of history

    Bush Did It!

    • Johnny Depp

      This stabbing incident is creating lots of impact on other sectors of
      the society. People don’t get over this incident in a clean approach.
      Generally in a negative way. I’m afraid that this can break the whole
      society up.

      Everyone stopped buying stuff, stopped going to concerts, as all
      events canceled. There is no more laughter in the ROC anymore. The only ones
      laughing are the droves of Asian tourists who just flew into this mess
      having no ideal. Go to Shilin Nightmarket, hardly any Taiwanese there anymore,
      it’s all Korean and Japanese tourists. People are short fused more than
      usual, and people seem like they are more brittle and much more
      sensitive towards everything that’s said. I hear cases of post traumatic
      syndrome and depression is rising. Look for another spike in suicides.
      in coming months, while economic growth plunged in April. If things
      don’t pick up soon, there will be severe recession. How long this is
      going to go on is a big question.

      Well it’s like this. This is Taiwan’s 911, except the enemy came from
      within, and not externally. That is why it’s so much more devastating
      than a regular disaster. Plus the fact that Taiwanese are shocked that
      this kind of man made disaster stuff that was common in the 1990’s,
      still happened now when everyone thought that those days were well
      behind
      them. Also all those hear wrenching text messages from hospitalized
      people to their parents, after the stabbing occurred, makes people’s
      nightmare
      come true.

      Heck, I’ve had nightmare dreams about that disaster with
      all those people trapped inside the train crying out for help. We’re all
      trying to make a sense of it all.

      • Aaron Wytze

        I think this incident is feeding a rather unhealthy hysteria in the Taiwanese media and general public. The incident is so shocking in Taiwan because they are so seldom to occur in Taiwan. I worry that the real problems are not being confronted, which is to have serious discussion about mental health, and having an open and accepting environment for teenagers and young adults to accept counseling. Instead, Taiwan is stuck talking about how this idiot should be “put down immediately.” What a shame.

        • noodles76

          It’s too soon. People are still angry and confused or just feeling…whatever they are feeling. This is the time for meaningless knee jerk reactions. Later, this tragedy may indeed spark some honest reflection but for many…it’s just too soon.

  • Aaron Wytze

    I think the worst thing to do is to remain silent on this issue. People who oppose the death penalty, and want to have serious discussions about mental health should be raising their voices louder. It’s necessary to cut through illogical arguments that come from emotional reactions to this incident.

  • bprichard

    Yes, but things like this can and do happen everywhere.

  • christina

    I am waiting anxiously to see what chinese netizens have to say about the UCSB murders, especially since the kid was half asian.

    • wnsk

      I don’t get this. What are you expecting them to say, and why would whatever they say be remarkable?

  • XIUYEN

    “Fuck! That criminal who crazily cut people down should have his dick cut off and allowed to bleed out, then use a durian to wildly bash his head, then stuff a baseball bat up his asshole! After that, alcohol should be sprayed all over his wounds, and then sprinkle salt.”

    It is weird how a person can come up with such horribe ideas

  • 3north

    “China has the oldest civilization in the world”

    No it is not.

    Egpyt – A unified kingdom was founded 3150 BC by King Menes.
    Greece – home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilization, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC.

    China – The jealous country that somehow stretched the 4000 year old Xia Dynasty, 2070 BC, to being “5000 years”. To add insult to injury, this dynasty is mostly based on myth too.

  • wrle

    300 people were killed in sewol, mostly school students. It was a large scale national disaster and South koreans are not used to incidents of that size. But then again, you are probably one of those chinese internet trolls that laughed and have no empathy for human life.

    • Rick in China

      The dude said some shit about Korea being dramatic, then said “This is Taiwan’s 911”. Equating a few stabbed people at a subway with the coordinated airline hijacking and crashing into several very significant buildings across America, resulting in thousands dead. Obviously he’s a useless troll, stop feeding. :D

  • BillBo

    Why’d they put a helmet on him???

  • Chosun1Peninsula1

    Typical Taiwan Cockroach.

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