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Suspect in train blast treated for cancer, mental illness: police

2016/07/09 13:01:53

(From Lin Ying-chang's Facebook page)

Taipei, July 9 (CNA) A 55-year-old man who allegedly detonated an explosive device on a commuter train in Taipei earlier this week appears to have led a troubled life as more details emerged after he was identified by the police on Friday.

Lin Ying-chang (林英昌), who was among the most severely injured passengers in the explosion, has been treated for mental illness and tonsil cancer, and has been facing financial difficulties in recent years, investigators said Friday.

They found hospital records of Lin's treatment for mental illness and cancer.

Lin's son told police on Friday that his parents are divorced and that his father used to work as a painter for buildings and structures, but left home many years ago and has been listed as a missing person.

Lin, who is from Hualien, faced financial difficulties in recent years and had been living in his van with his dog, according to the police.

He has a criminal record including such offenses as theft, the handling of stolen properties and endangering the public (drunk driving).

(Lin was filmed on surveillance camera as he was about to board the train at the Banqiao train station)

Police later found his van, which he left in the mountainous area of Nantou County before taking a bus and then a train to Taipei.

Investigators found a note in Lin's van that he left behind for his family, telling them to repay his cash card debts and arrange his funeral.

They also found his dog in the van. The owner of a small restaurant near Lin's van told investigators that Lin had borrowed money from her and said he was going to Taipei for two days.

He also gave the key of the van to her and asked her to feed his dog, according to investigators.

(Lin's van and his dog)

(police searching Lin's van)

Lin's family, who visited him at the hospital Friday, said they are rarely in contact with him and do not know why he would commit such a crime.

Taipei Medical University Hospital, where Lin is being hospitalized, said Saturday Lin regained consciousness that morning but is still intubated and in critical condition.

Huang Tsung-jen (黃聰仁), deputy superintendent of the hospital, said he expects Lin will be fit enough to be interrogated by police in two or three days.

The hospital contacted the police on Friday after they found metal fragments in Lin's chest and thighs, and wounds that are different from that of the other injured passengers.

Investigators ruled that Lin was the suspect of the explosion after going through the surveillance videos in the train station and on the bus that Lin took, and comparing his DNA with the DNA evidence found on the pipe bomb and in the bag used to carry the explosive device.

(the aftermath of the explosion, photo courtesy of Taiwan Railways Administration)

The explosion, which occurred around 10 p.m. Thursday as the northbound commuter train was approaching Songshan Station in Taipei, injured 25 passengers, including the suspect. Besides Lin, four others were seriously injured while the others sustained minor injuries.

(Investigators announcing their findings at a press conference)

(By Christie Chen and Hsiao Po-yang)