Serial Slasher Slashes Woman 7 Days after Prison Release

A man who slashed a woman with a utility knife in an attempted robbery in Taipei City last month had been released from prison only 7 days before, and had returned to the scene of his previous crime to carry out the offense.

Prosecutors today ordered that Hu Tong-wen, 58, remain in detention, as he had no fixed abode, and in the light of his criminal history, had a high risk of absconding and re-offending.

On November 25, Hu stole a utility knife from a stationary store in Da’an District. At around 10:20am, Hu followed a woman on Yongkang Street, grabbed her from behind, and attacked her with the knife. Ms Zhang, 38, was cut three times as she struggled and called for help.

Hu fled the scene, but was followed and tracked by witnesses who kept the police informed of his movements until he was arrested in a lane off Xinyi Road around 10 minutes later.

Ms Zhang suffered two wounds to her left cheek, including a one centimeter-deep cut, and a cut on her hand.

On January 8, 2014, Hu attacked a woman named Lin with a folding knife as she walked out of a bank on Yongkang Street carrying a large bag. Lin was cut on the neck, face, right eye, and ear, causing permanent disfigurement. Hu made off with the bag but was later arrested. Hu was sentenced to a 5 year term in prison for the crime of aggravated robbery.

In October 1998, Hu stabbed 10 people with a pair of scissors during a one hour stabbing spree on Yanping North Road in Taipei City. The youngest victim was 7 years old, and an 81 year-old woman was stabbed in the eye and blinded. All victims were women and children.

In his defense for the 1998 attack, Hu claimed that he suffered schizophrenia, and he was sentenced to a reduced term in prison.

In 2002, Hu was charged and sentenced for robbery. After his release in 2006, Hu again committed robbery and assault offences. Hu attempted to steal cigarettes from a store in Xichang Street, and punched a clerk in the face when caught. Hu then went to another store, was caught and scuffled with a clerk again.

Many Chinese language media reports stated that Hu had been released on parole 7 days before last month’s attack. However, the Ministry of Justice issued a press release November 28 stating that this was incorrect. Hu had not been released on parole, but had completed his prison term, and therefore had been released November 18, 2018, the MOJ press release said.

After his arrest, Hu told police that he had committed the crime because he had just been released from prison and had no money.

Ms Zhang uses tissue to stem bleeding on her face after being slashed during an attempted robbery on Yongkang Street in Taipei City, November 25, 2018
Ms Zhang uses tissue to stem bleeding on her face after being slashed during an attempted robbery on Yongkang Street in Taipei City, November 25, 2018

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