As Taiwan is still trying to come to grips with yesterday’s vicious beheading of a 4-year-old girl by a stranger in broad daylight in Taipei, two more random attacks have occurred today, bringing with them worries that there will be more copycat attackers to come.
The first attack occurred at around noon inside a Taipei metro station. A police officer noticed a 28-year-old man surnamed Chan acting strangely. He asked Chan where he was going and then stepped onto the train with him, Taiwan News reports.
After they both boarded, Chan attacked the officer from behind with a steak knife. The officer was able to pull his attacker off the train and back onto the platform. Fortunately, a bank security team happened to also be on the platform, and they helped taser the attacker into submission.
The officer sustained injuries to his head and back, though his condition is not critical. Meanwhile, Chan said the reason for his attack was that he simply “hates cops,” blaming them for his own unemployment.
Just an hour later, in New Taipei City, a 48-year-old environmental worker was cleaning and disinfecting an intersection when he was suddenly attacked by a stranger with a saw. He suffered a 5-centimeter gash to his wrist in the attack.
The attacker, a 23-year-old man surnamed Yu, told police that he made the attack in order to “protect cockroaches,” Focus Taiwan reports.
This all comes just a day after a 4-year-old girl was randomly attacked by a man with a cleaver on the street, with her mother and grandfather looking on helplessly, he decapitated the child. The shocking crime has ignited a fierce debate about the death penalty in Taiwan and has been all over the news.
Psychiatrist Hsu Cheng-dien believes that the wall-to-wall media coverage of yesterday’s vicious attack may have also inspired the ones today. Hsu has urged the media to not use bloody, violent and sensational images in reporting, to avoid inspiring more copycats.
These incidents bring to mind a string of primary school stabbings that shocked the mainland from 2010 to 2012, with experts speculating that the widespread media coverage of the attacks was inspiring more unbalanced copycats to do the same.
Officials at the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit are worried that more random attacks will soon occur, announcing earlier today that their security guards will now be armed with batons, Taiwan News reports.
In a TV interview, the 4-year-old girl’s mother said that she didn’t think that any kind of regulation like the death penalty could stop these kind of random attacks from occurring. Instead, she said that she hoped they could be eliminated through better family and school education.