Man detained for killing store clerk who asked him to wear a face mask

Taipei, November 22 (CNA) The Taoyuan District Court issued an order Sunday evening for the detention of a man who allegedly stabbed a convenience store worker to death earlier in the day simply because he was asked to carry a face mask.

The court said there was enough evidence to suggest the man, nicknamed Chiang (蔣), was a suspect in the homicide, citing witness statements, prosecutors and police investigations, as well as footage surveillance cameras.

As the crime of homicide carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, the court said, it is possible for the suspect to flee and, therefore, it is necessary to keep him in detention.

Guishan Police Station chief Feng Li-tse (馮 理 澤) told reporters Chiang went to a convenience store in Guishan district of Taoyuan around 4 a.m. on Sunday without wearing a mask. facial.

Chiang got angry and left the convenience store as a store worker, nicknamed Tsai (蔡), asked him to wear a face mask, Feng said.

In Taiwan, under current COVID-19 restrictions, masks remain mandatory in most public places.

Shortly after leaving the convenience store, the 41-year-old suspect returned to the scene, wearing a face mask but argued with the store clerk, throwing his face mask at Tsai, 30, then left, said Feng.

According to prosecutors, Chiang returned to the convenience store around 5:25 a.m. for the third time and demanded to see Tsai before repeatedly stabbing the seller in the chest with a knife he had brought with him.

After struggling with Chiang’s knife, Tsai fell to the ground outside the store, according to Feng.

Police and paramedics received a call from people at the crime scene, reporting the attack at 5:47 a.m.

Paramedics found Tsai had suffered three knife wounds on the left side of his chest and fell into a coma. His heart stopped beating as he was rushed to hospital, Feng said.

Tsai was then pronounced dead in hospital at around 7.18 a.m. after efforts to resuscitate him failed, the court said.

According to Feng, the suspect was sent to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday afternoon for investigation before prosecutors sought a court order to detain him.

Despite the detention order, the court said Chiang had been allowed to meet visitors since committing the murder alone without fear of colluding with others to make false confessions.

After being informed of his son’s death by the police, Tsai’s father said he was really sad, pointing out that his son was a good person. “I can’t understand why he lost his life just because he went to work,” the father said. “This is totally unacceptable to me.”

Police said Tsai usually worked at a convenience store in New Taipei, neighboring Taoyuan, but was assigned by his business to the Guishan outlet once or twice a week.

To determine the exact cause of Tsai’s death, prosecutors said an autopsy was scheduled.

They said Chiang claimed he was mentally ill and had seen a doctor, and that he had no recollection of killing the store clerk.

According to prosecutors, Chiang only remembered that he stabbed the store clerk while he was in the convenience store, but he could not remember how he stabbed the store clerk.

Prosecutors said further investigations were needed to determine if Chiang had a mental illness.

On his Facebook page, Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) condemned the violence and called on the city police department to spare no effort to investigate the case and bring justice to the victim.

Cheng said the Taoyuan Welfare Department would do its best to help the victim’s family cope with the tragedy.

(By Wu Jui-chi, Elizabeth Hsu and Frances Huang)

Final element / cs

Update

November 22: Police step up patrols after series of attacks on convenience stores