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3 people killed in Taiwan subway stabbing spree

Buddhists pray during a ceremony to commemorate the birth of Buddha, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

TAIPEI, Taiwan: A drunken university student wielding a knife attacked riders aboard a subway train in Taiwan's capital on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring nearly a dozen others, police and local media said.

The seemingly random attack occurred at about 4 p.m. at the start of rush hour aboard a train on Taipei's Banqiao line, which leads to the city's southwestern suburbs.

Photos showed the floor of one of the train's cars and the adjacent station platform splattered with blood and strewn with backpacks, umbrellas and other items. The government's Central News Agency and other media outlets described panicked passengers rushing from the train when it arrived at the Jiangzicui station, shouting for those waiting on the platform to flee.

They said security guards quickly called for police, who apprehended the man and took him into custody. They said the man reeked of alcohol.

Speaking to reporters, Taipei Police Chief Chen Kou-en identified the attacker as a 21-year-old second-year student at Tunghai University in the central city of Taichung.

Chen said the man told police he had wanted to do something "shocking and big" and had plotted to carry out the attack from childhood. Chen said no other motive was presently known.

Police said the man used a 10 centimeter-long (3 inch-long) knife in the attack, and that he was also carrying a second blade three times as long.

Those killed were a 47-year-old woman and two men, one in his 20s and the other in his 30s, police said. At least 22 people were injured in the attack.

Street crime is extremely rare in Taipei, one of Asia's safest cities, and violent incidents are practically unheard of in the city's extensive and well managed subway system.

 

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