Suspect in child's beheading has psychiatric treatment record: police
Taipei, March 28 (CNA) A man detained for allegedly killing a 4-year-old girl in an apparent random attack in Taipei on Monday had previously been treated at a psychiatric hospital in the city, according to Taipei police.
Records showed that the 33-year-old man had sought treatment at the Taipei City Hospital Songde Branch, a public psychiatric hospital, but he does not have a government-issued disability card, the police said.
The hospital confirmed that the suspect had sought treatment there once in 2014, but added that it does not prove he has a mental illness. At the time, the man admitted to taking drugs, but a drug test came up negative, the hospital said.
It said further investigation would be required to find out whether the man had sought psychiatric treatment elsewhere.
The suspect, identified only by his surname Wang, has also been convicted for drug offenses and is currently unemployed, the police said.
Accompanied by her mother, the child was riding a strider bike on a street in Neihu District around 11 a.m. when the attacker struck, said Yang Kun-ming (楊坤明), head of the investigation unit of the Taipei City Police Department's Neihu Precinct.
The suspect grabbed the child from behind and decapitated her with a cleaver, Yang said.
Passersby and residents of the area subdued the attacker and called the police, who arrested the man when they arrived on the scene, Yang said, adding that police were still trying to determine the man's motive.
According to an Apple Daily report, the child's mother, who was in shock after witnessing the incident, told police that when the suspect appeared near her daughter, she thought he was trying to help the child because her strider bike had stuck a bit at that point.
The child and her mother were on their way to a metro station in northern Taipei's Neihu District to meet the girl's grandfather.
The girls' parents and grandfather were later seen kneeling next to her body, weeping.
"The society is sick," the tearful grandmother told reporters.
There was a temporary traffic jam at the crime scene as many pedestrians gathered at the site after the incident, which occurred during the busy lunch hour.
It was the third apparently random killing of a young child in Taiwan in four years.
Last year, an intruder entered a bathroom at an elementary school in Taipei and slashed the throat of an 8-year-old girl.
In 2012, a man cut the throat of 10-year-old boy in a bathroom at a video game arcade in Tainan, southern Taiwan.
However, Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌), deputy director-general of the National Police Agency, said at legislative session that Monday's killing was an isolated case and that the police will set up additional patrols to prevent similar incidents.
Monday's gruesome murder sparked hundreds of angry messages on social media.
"Animals are better than this," one person wrote.
"Execution on the spot. A life for a life," another comment read.
"Ending a young life and destroying a family for no reason," another person wrote. "Is there no way to revise the law to stop this kind of irresponsible behavior?"
(By Yiu Kai-hsiang, Lu Hsin-hui and Christie Chen)ENDITEM/pc
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