Man arrested in Hunan after stabbing stranger to death on train, triggering concern over railway security management
Published: May 08, 2023 10:00 PM
Handcuffs Photo: CFP

Handcuffs Photo: CFP

A Chinese man has been arrested after stabbing a passenger at a train in Central China's Hunan Province, related railway police confirmed on Monday, noting that the case is still under investigation. The case has triggered heated discussion on security management on trains on Chinese social media platforms as the suspect reportedly killed the victim with an 18 centimeter long knife, which is prohibited from being taken onto a train in China.

According to media reports, the incident occurred on late Thursday on K435 train from Wuchang, Central China's Hubei Province, to Huizhou, South China's Guangdong Province. The victim was taking the train from Zhuzhou to Leiyang in Hunan with his mother. The suspect reportedly boarded the train at the Hengshan station between the Zhuzhou and Leiyang stations.

The victim's elderly male cousin, surnamed Li, described the incident to social media platforms on Sunday. According to circulating screenshots on Weibo, Li said in a post on Sunday that the victim killed his cousin with a 18 centimeters long knife after getting on board the train for about ten minutes. Li also accused the train attendants failing to respond quickly enough to help rescue the victim. 

Li told media that the suspect is a stranger to his family. The victim grabbed the knife from the suspect and put the knife under his body before dying, Li told media. 

Police from the Guangzhou railway bureau, which is responsible for railway security in Guangdong, Hunan and Hainan province, confirmed with media on Sunday that the incident happened at about 10pm Thursday. The suspect used a knife and had a criminal record. 

Citing  police officials under the condition of anonymity, media said that the suspect, 35 from Chongqing, attacked people with knife twice separately in 2014 and 2017. The suspect has also been ordered to attend compulsory detoxification twice in 2010 and 2011.  

China imposed a ban on any knife longer than from 6 centimeters from being brought aboard any train since July 1 2022, according to national regulations. 

The police so far had not confirmed the length of the knife. Amid viral reports of the case, many millions netizens  flooded to social media platforms questioning how long is the knife and, if it is really 18 centimeters as reported, how could the suspect successfully take  the knife with him onto the train. Related hashtags had been viewed almost 200 million times. 

"If the knife is long enough to be restricted, it means that the security check work at the station was not effective and the railway authority bears inescapable responsibility for the incident," one Weibo user said.