Girl, 12, slashed in latest knife attack in Taiwan

Mum's ex-boyfriend held her hostage in bid to reconcile; copycat crime shocks island

A makeshift memorial at a street next to the scene where a four-year-old girl was killed earlier this week, in Taipei, on March 29. PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI • Taiwan has been shaken again by another case of a knife attack, even as the island is reeling from the killing of a four-year-old earlier this week.

In the latest case, a 12-year-old girl from the southern city of Tainan was allegedly wounded on the left side of her neck by her mother's ex-boyfriend on Thursday night. She was rushed to hospital, where she received eight stitches for the 6cm-wound. Her condition is now stable, China Times reported yesterday.

The 43-year-old suspect, surnamed Huang, allegedly got a locksmith to open the door of the apartment, while the mother was out for dinner with the girl and a younger daughter.

According to Taiwanese media, he wanted to reconcile with the mother and held the older girl hostage with a fruit knife. He slashed her when the mother and younger daughter rushed out of the apartment to call the police.

The older girl was found lying on the ground and bleeding from the neck when the mother returned to the apartment. Neighbours came to their aid, but the suspect had escaped by then.

Taiwanese media reported that the suspect is still at large. A police station in Tainan was mobbed on Thursday night by residents who received rumours on social media that the suspect had been arrested and taken there.

Emotions are running high in Taiwan, following the beheading of a four-year-old girl nicknamed "Little Lightbulb" in Taipei on Monday. The child, who was with her mother, was heading to a metro station to meet relatives when she was attacked by a knife-wielding stranger.

Police said the 33-year-old suspect, identified by local media as Wang Ching-yu, had previously been arrested for drug-related crimes and had sought medical treatment for mental illness.

Despite widespread calls for the killer to be executed immediately and for a mandatory death penalty for people convicted of killing children, the mother of the four- year-old has called for calm and reason.

"I believe the suspects in these kinds of random killings lose their minds at that moment," Ms Claire Wang told TV reporters at the police station on Monday.

"This is not a problem that can be solved by passing a law," she said. "I hope we can address the problem from its root, from the perspective of family and education, so that there will no longer be people like him (the perpetrator) in our society."

On Wednesday, the grieving mother announced that the public was welcome to visit her daughter's wake, but asked that mourners come "without hatred in your heart".

Monday's case is the third random killing of a child in Taiwan in five years. Taiwan's Apple Daily reported that a 32-year-old man was arrested in the central city of Taichung yesterday, after he was spotted loitering near an elementary school with two knives wrapped under a towel.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline Girl, 12, slashed in latest knife attack in Taiwan. Subscribe