Passengers Wrestle to Subdue Knifeman in Taiwan Subway

A suspect who stabbed two people on the morning of May 14th was apprehended by witnesses as cell phone footage shot inside a major Taiwanese subway vehicle shows the moment the man was subdued.

Taichung police said that the 20-year-old suspect, whose identity is only known by his last name, Hung, was apprehended at the scene. Two other men (17 and 27) were also being treated for injuries caused by knives.

According to the fire department, the 17-year-old was taken to the hospital with knife wounds to the arm, shoulder, and chest. The 27-year-old had a 6-inch cut on his face and jaw. According to the police, a fourth individual had non-life-threatening injuries and did not need medical attention.

The suspect, Hung, had his right hand treated for wounds.

According to eyewitnesses, Hung pulled a cleaver out of his bag and started assaulting the nearest rider. Opponents managed to disarm him, but he persisted in launching his assault with a fruit knife.

One man protected himself with an umbrella. A lady was seen grappling with the culprit, who was eventually detained near an exit.  As seen in the video, Hung was subjected to physical violence, including a headlock and punches to the head.

Authorities claimed they recovered three weapons. The public transport operator says Taichung City Hall station had to be evacuated and shuttered.  There were complaints of train car emergency buttons not working.

Hung has a history of mental illness, according to Taichung police chief Lee Wen-chang, who spoke before the city council. According to the official, Hung claimed he was in a bad mood.

Most large stations only have stun guns and pepper spray-toting security guards.  The incident prompted the Taipei Metro to tighten monitoring at capital city subway stations.

May 21, 2014, was the date of the most severe knife assault on the island’s subway system up to that point. In that incident, a 21-year-old man attacked four individuals in a packed train car, killing four of them and wounding twenty-four others. Two years later, he was put to death.

The media in Taiwan have connected the most recent stabbing to the assault on the Taipei Metro a decade ago, even though there is no clear motivation. The authorities also found evidence that the culprit had a track record of mental illness.