TAIPEI • A Taiwanese policeman was injured yesterday in a knife attack on the outskirts of Taipei, a day after the gruesome decapitation of a four-year-old girl sent shockwaves through the island.
The policeman was sent to hospital and the 28-year-old suspect taken into police custody. Central News Agency reported that the suspect is unemployed and cites hatred for policemen as the motive.
Yesterday's incident took place even as police stepped up neighbourhood patrols and security at subway stations following the killing of the girl. She was nicknamed Little Lightbulb.
Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je raised concern yesterday over possible copycat attacks due to excessive media coverage of the case, reported Taiwan News.
According to the police, the 33-year-old suspect in Monday's attack bought a kitchen knife at a market before taking a train to the Xihu metro station in Taipei.
He was loitering near Neihu Road Section 1 at about 10am when he spotted the girl and her mother. The child was riding a bicycle.
String of random killings in Taiwan in recent years.
MAY 2015: An intruder entered a toilet in a Taipei elementary school and slashed an eight-year-old girl's throat. She died after 19 hours of emergency surgery.
The 30-year-old suspect turned himself in and was sentenced to life in prison last month. He said he killed the girl because prisoners could get better food than what he was having in his daily life, reported Taiwan News.
MAY 2014: A 22-year-old university student stabbed four passengers to death and injured 24 others abroad a subway carriage. He was sentenced to death, but the Supreme Court still has to hear his appeal.
DECEMBER 2012: A man cut a 10-year-old boy's throat in a toilet of a video game arcade in Tainan.
The 29-year-old suspect was arrested at an Internet cafe hours after the victim's body was discovered. He was sentenced to life in prison.
LAW LACKS POWER
I did not know our society is so unsafe... Suspects in these random killings lose their minds temporarily, and no law can resolve this. I hope we can get to the root of the problem, starting with families and education, so that our children and grandchildren will never meet someone like this again.
MOTHER OF FOUR-YEAR-OLD VICTIM
The suspect followed them, and at around 11am, grabbed the child from behind and decapitated her.
The mother rushed to stop him, but he was stronger and pushed her aside, according to a police statement. The girl died on the spot.
The mother's cries caught the attention of shop owners and passers-by, who subdued the attacker and called the police. The suspect, surnamed Wang, was arrested and is in police custody. He has yet to enter a plea.
The mother told reporters she initially thought he was trying to help the child because the bike got stuck in the pavement.
Taiwan's President-elect Tsai Ing-Wen condemned the attack and said she would make policy changes to address the problem.
"There are many holes in our social safety net. I have the responsibility to ensure that every single individual who could have fallen beyond it, to be caught by this net, and to receive equal education opportunities, a stable job and have a normal life," she said.
Wang had been arrested in the past over drug-related crimes, reported Taiwanese media. He had mental illness and had been unemployed for many years.
Television footage on Monday showed him being attacked by an angry mob outside a police station while being transferred to the prosecutor's office for questioning.
Taiwanese have been streaming to a makeshift memorial site next to the crime scene to lay flowers and soft toys for the child victim.
The shocking crime, the second child killing in Taipei in less than a year, has sparked public outrage and criticism of calls to abolish the death penalty, reported Agence France-Presse.