Junior high school student dies after school stabbing: gang-connected killer had a history of violent assault

A 15-year-old student who was brutally stabbed by a fellow student at a New Taipei City high school on Christmas day has died, and serious questions about campus safety have been raised, after it was found that the alleged killer had a history of violence and gang affiliations.

According to reports, during the lunchbreak on Monday, December 25, a third-year female student at a junior high school in Tucheng District went to a classroom to chat with another female student. A male student, named Yang, told her to leave the room, as she was not a member of that class. The girl apparently felt offended by Yang, and sought out a male friend, named Guo, to enact revenge.

Guo went to Yang’s class, confronted him, and then stabbed him multiple times with a switchblade knife.

Yang collapsed and lost vital signs at the scene. Paramedics performed CPR and vital signs were restored. However, Yang had suffered from severe hypoxia, and after two days on a life support machine, Yang was declared dead early today, December 27.

The New Taipei District Prosecutor conducted an examination of Yang’s body and found that he had been stabbed 10 times, including in the carotid artery of the neck, the left chest, and right lower back.

Guo and his girlfriend were arrested on the day of the incident, and Guo was initially charged for attempted murder. The charges today were upgraded to homicide.

According to several news reports today, Guo was found to have a criminal history involving assault, and he had been released from a juvenile detention center in May. Guo and his girlfriend had been involved in a bullying incident in February this year, in which a girl was physically and verbally abused and forced to kneel and kowtow in apology after calling Guo’s girlfriend “ugly.” The incident was filmed and uploaded to the Internet. Following the incident, Guo and the girl were transferred from another junior high school to the one where the recent stabbing occurred.

The reports also claim that Guo and his girlfriend often hung out around temples, and were associated with members of the Heavenly Way Alliance Sun Club, and the Huashan Gang.

The Huashan Gang is active in the Tucheng District, and was the target of an attack involving a Juvenile gunman earlier this year.

SETN quoted an anonymous police officer who confirmed that Guo was a well known to police in the Tucheng area. The police officer described Guo as having an “extreme personality,” and being fierce and aggressive. Guo has been involved in several cases of fighting, fraud, and unlicensed driving, completely ignoring the existence of laws and regulations.

The New Taipei City Education Department said that it will work with the Department of civil Affairs and the school to fully assist parents with legal consultation and other needs, and will invite family education centers and social workers from the Department of Social Welfare to also provide assistance. The school will cooperate with the judicial authorities in the investigation and handling of the case.

School psychologists and social workers will also be assigned to provide follow-up counselling to teachers and students at the school to ensure stability of learning and mental health of each student, the education department said.

In regards to maintenance of campus safety, the education department requires schools to strengthen contact and cooperation with the police and specifically strengthen counseling assistance to, and tracking of high-risk students, strengthen school safety awareness of faculty and staff, and jointly maintain a safe campus learning environment.

However, the Ministry of Education and municipal education department have come under criticism from various quarters, including teachers unions and the National Education Association. Media Pundit Luo Wangzhe took to social media to complain that teachers have been deprived of their rights to discipline students. Nowadays, students cannot be punished or even scolded. Teachers don’t even know what is in the students’ schoolbags and are not allowed to search them. If teachers’ disciplinary measures are deemed to have crossed the line, they may be sued, so teachers don’t dare to meddle.

“In recent years, in order to please young people and obtain political dividends, many politicians have unlimitedly emphasized student autonomy and human rights,” Luo said.

Lawyer Lin Zhiqun wrote on Facebook that incidents like this violent attack are difficult to prevent because teachers have no power, the police cannot enter the campus at will, and even the media and judiciary must conceal the name of the school where the problem occurred. “This law has gone too far. After all, it is to protect who? Don’t other people have the right to know? Don’t other people’s children need to be protected?” Lin wrote.

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