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Transport minister promises security improvements
【Society】2014-05-22  12:34:54
Taipei, May 22 (CNA) The minister of transportation and communications expressed his pain and condolences Thursday after a stabbing spree on Taipei's metro left four people dead and 21 injured, and promised improvements "in all aspects."

The attacker, 21-year-old college student Cheng Chieh, was detained and taken into custody after a 10-minute hearing by the New Taipei District Court earlier Thursday.

Speaking at an emergency meeting at the Legislative Yuan in response to the incident, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said that steps have been taken to increase safety at all metro stations, and all current security measures will undergo a new round of inspections.

Efforts will also be made to increase the vigilance of security personnel toward suspicious persons, he added, saying that commuters are asked to alert station police at the slightest hint of danger.

Yeh's comments followed an earlier statement to the media by MOTC Deputy Minister Chen Jian-yu, who said that additional security personnel and patrol officers have been deployed to heighten police presence both at the stations and in metro carriages, particularly during peak hours.

Chen continued by saying that inspections will be carried out to scrutinize all standard operating procedures of the metro's incident reporting and rescue systems, adding that surveillance equipment within all metro stations will also be checked for potential blind spots.

[Outside Jiangzicui metro station in New Taipei Thursday morning. CNA photo May 22, 2014]

In turn, National Policy Agency (NPA) Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-tung announced that upon the Taipei city government's request, the NPA has sent an additional 80 police officers to safeguard the metro stations and help calm worried commuters.

Orders have also been given to increase safety patrols in metro stations in Taipei, New Taipei and Kaohsiung, Lin added.

Lin said that metro station safety is also the responsibility of local police stations and precincts. He did not specify when the additional police presence would end.

When asked about a city councilor's suggestion of installing metal detectors in the metro stations, Lin responded by saying that although such devices would sound at the passing of fruit knives similar to the one used by the assailant, they would also detect all types of metallic objects -- which would not help solve the problem.

(By Tai Ya-chen and John Scot Feng)

Related stories:
●May 22: NPA deputy head lists security steps following metro stabbings
●May 22: Taipei metro train attacker detained (update)
●May 21: 4 dead, 21 injured in stabbing on Taipei metro (update)
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