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Passengers subdue Taiwan metro knife assailant on tenth anniversary of deadly attack

A knife-wielding man who attacked people on a train car in the central Taiwanese city of Taichung early Tuesday was subdued by passengers, according to authorities.

The attack came on the tenth anniversary of a deadly knife rampage on Taipei’s metro that shocked an island with a reputation for being generally safe, and led to the eventual execution of the man who carried out the attack.

Three passengers were injured in the incident on Tuesday in Taichung and were taken to hospital, city’s mayor Lu Shiow-yen told reporters.

The suspect, a 20-year-old male with a history of mental health issues, traveled from the southern city of Kaohsiung on Monday with his knife, according to the mayor.

During the attack on Tuesday, “a group of passengers rushed on to press him down, especially holding down his arms and hands which are still holding a fruit knife,” a male witness told journalists at the scene.

“As we were pinning him down, another man pried (the attacker’s) fingers and took away the knife,” a female witness told journalists at the scene.

Some witnesses complained that metro staff had been slow to respond to the incident.

“The car was roughly 60 to 70 percent full (at the time of the attack) … I tried to push the emergency button multiple times without getting any response, the light (on the machine) was not even on,” a male witness told journalists at the scene.

“I saw him (the attacker) holding a cooking knife and later saw a fruit knife on the floor,” he said.

The incident also happened on the ten-year anniversary of a similar stabbing attack in the Taipei metro which killed four people and injured over twenty. The attacker was later executed in 2016 following a fast-tracked order from the then-justice minister.

These types of violent crime are rare in the self-ruled democratic island, which ranked as the 33rd most peaceful state or territory in last year’s Global Peace Index, out of 163 total places worldwide.

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