Man injured in Taiwan commuter train blast identified as suspect

Police in Taiwan are investigating the cause of an explosion on a train at a railway station in the capital, Taipei, that injured 21 people.
A member of a bomb squad is seen through a broken glass door of a train carriage after an explosion at Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.
A member of a bomb squad is seen through a broken glass door of a train carriage after an explosion at Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7. PHOTO: EPA
A policeman is seen through the broken windows of a train after an explosion at the Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.
A policeman is seen through the broken windows of a train after an explosion at the Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7. PHOTO: REUTERS
Taiwanese investigators inspect debris inside a train carriage after an explosion at Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.
Taiwanese investigators inspect debris inside a train carriage after an explosion at Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.PHOTO: EPA
At least 21 people were injured when a section of the commuter train moving nearby Songshan Railway Station exploded and burst into flames on July 7.
At least 21 people were injured when a section of the commuter train moving nearby Songshan Railway Station exploded and burst into flames on July 7.PHOTO: TAIWAN RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION
 A bomb disposal expert checks a train after an explosion at the Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.
A bomb disposal expert checks a train after an explosion at the Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Taiwanese police officer stands guard at the entrance of Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7.
A Taiwanese police officer stands guard at the entrance of Songshan train station in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7. PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI - Taiwan police said on Friday (July 8) that they have identified a man suspected of having set off explosives in a commuter train carriage at Songshan railway station, injuring 25 people, four of them seriously.

Lin Ying-chang, 55, is among the 25 people injured in the Thursday blast in one of the carriages of a train that was travelling from Taipei to Keelung in northern Taiwan. Police said he was seen near the explosives at the time of the explosion and his fingerprints were found on the device, a steel pipe 47cm long.

It was split in half after the explosion, with one half of it found on the train and the other found on the tracks, the police said.

Lin was holding the explosive in front of his chest when it exploded, the police added. He sustained serious burns to his upper body and was still receiving treatment in a hospital intensive care unit, the police said. 

 
 

“But as he suffered serious injuries... he is unable to speak, so we are not yet able to make further interrogations,” Wang Pao-chang, head of the agency’s Taipei branch, told reporters.  

The suspect's motive remains unclear and the police were still investigating whether he had any accomplices, Wang added. Police had ruled out terrorism as the cause of the attack following preliminary investigations earlier on Friday. 

It is also uncertain whether the device exploded by accident or was set off deliberately.

DNA on a red canvas bag found in the carriage’s toilet matched that of the suspect, whose clothing and shoes were also marked with gunpowder, according to a police statement reported by Agence France-Presse.

Two passengers in the carriage recalled that the explosion happened after a middle-aged man made a pulling motion with a tube-shaped object, the statement added. 

Witnesses said they heard three blasts inside the sixth carriage before it burst into flames. They said they saw a man who walked in and left a bag in the cabin moments before the explosion. 

Police earlier said that the blast happened when the train was 1km away from Songshan station. No detonator, however, has been found. 

Premier Lin Chuan earlier told reporters: "It looks like somebody did this with a malicious intent and we will fully investigate this case."

This is not the first attack on a train in Taiwan. Previous train blasts, including the most recent in 2013 on a high-speed rail train in Hsinchu, hurt one or two commuters.

In 2014, a college student killed four people in a stabbing spree on the Taipei metro, shocking the island and prompting a security overhaul of the city’s public transport systems.