Taiwan train blast suspect 'may have wanted to poison people'

TAIPEI • A 55-year-old man suspected of setting off a bomb on a train last week might have thought of poisoning drinks as an act of consumer terrorism, investigators say.

Lin Ying-chang, who was among the 25 victims hurt in last Thursday night's blast, allegedly borrowed NT$500 (S$21) from the boss of a food-stand in Nantou county. He then bought a bottle of Paraquat, a highly toxic weed killer, before taking a commuter train to Taipei.

Investigators originally thought Lin had intended to commit suicide by taking the toxic herbicide, but later found in his possession a small sharp utensil that can be used to pierce containers. They suspect that Lin was planning to inject toxic herbicide into consumer drinks to create public panic.

Lin remains in critical condition and in intensive care, and cannot be questioned to find out his motive behind the explosion that rocked a carriage on the train.

Investigations also suggest that his divorce and health conditions had been factors that led him to perpetrate the crime.

Lin, who is from Hualien, had faced financial difficulties in recent years and had been living in his van with his dog.

He was married at the age of 20 and divorced his wife after having a child two years later, according to investigators.

He has been treated for mental illnesses and tonsil cancer. Investigators found hospital records of over 60 separate treatments for mental illnesses and cancer since he was confirmed to have tonsil cancer in his early 30s.

The police have located Lin's van, said to have been abandoned in the mountainous area of Nantou county. They also found a note in the van that he left behind for his family, telling them to repay his debts and arrange his funeral.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan train blast suspect 'may have wanted to poison people''. Print Edition | Subscribe