The Undiscussed Reasons Behind the Two Knife Attacks in Taipei

In just a day Taipei has seen two horrific knife attacks in public spaces, one after a 27-year-old named “Kuo” wounded four people at Zhongshan subway station, and another when a 15-year-old junior high school student randomly attacked one man and a woman with a kitchen knife.

Luckily there were no fatal injuries within the total of 5 injured people but the events have already became one more dai in a dark year in Taiwan for man-made tragedies. A series of attacks in public spaces have shocked a country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, leading the Taiwanese government to use the death penalty freely in order to placate public opinion.

After in May last year Cheng, a university student in early 20s, killed four people and injured more than 20 passengers in a stabbing spree on a Taipei subway, the attacker was quickly handed multiple death sentences by the New Taipei District Court. After the killing of a 8-year old in a public school, five death row inmates were also swiftly executed, with the killer awaiting a similar sentence.

However we’ve seen very little of the “deterrent” effect claimed by pro-death penalty defenders, with the two attacks only one month after the executions.

The real issue the media and the Taiwanese government should be addressing is not how can these people be put down quicker, or repeating endlessly CCTV videos of the attacks in loop, but the real issue behind these attacks.

Namely the serious problems such as possible mental health issues and social alienation that led a 27-year old long term unemployed men and an underaged boy to strike society.

Society needs to address in a rational conversation of the background instead of focusing only on the results and the aftermath of these horrible actions. Demonising is a route that leads to no solutions and won’t prevent future events like these.

Sources: Focus Taiwan, Numbeo

Photo credit by AFP/Mandy Cheng



Originally published at on July 21, 2015.