taipei taiwan beheading 2016
A toddler has been decapitated in front of her mother in an apparently random attack near a Metro station in Taipei. Google streetview

A four-year-old girl has been grabbed from her bike and decapitated in front of her mother in an apparently random attack near a Metro station in Taipei, Taiwan. A local 33-year-old man named Wang, said to have a history of mental health and drug problems, is in police custody. An angry crowd, some carrying baseball bats, gathered outside the police station where Wang was being held. President Ma Ying-jeou said he was shocked and saddened and has launched an investigation.

The attack took place in the Neihu District of Taipei. According to witnesses the girl's mother was taking her to see her grandfather. As the little girl rode a bike the man grabbed her and chopped off her head with a cleaver. Her mother witnessed the attack but was unable to prevent it. Alleged assailant Wang was grabbed by onlookers and held till police arrived and he was arrested. Local TV pictures showed a child's body covered by a sheet and a discarded bike.

When interviewed, the girl's mother said she had got stuck on her strider bike and so when a man approached she thought he was going to help. Instead he began hacking at her with a meat cleaver, giving the mum no time to intervene. "I saw the suspect slashing my daughter with a cleaver. I immediately grabbed him but I could not pull him away," she said. Next thing she knew "my daughter was not at her original location, and she was not on her bike. She was scattered on the roadside."

When the man was brought outside the police station to be placed on a minibus there was chaos as the media took photographs and the angry crowd screamed "Kill him!" until he was taken back inside. Pictures showed him wearing a grey shirt and helmet with blood stains still on his face. Eyewitnesses said he had purchased a cleaver locally before hanging around near Xihu station.

The killing was the third of its type to take place in Taiwan in the last few years. In 2012 a 10-year-old boy had his throat cut in a toilet at an amusement arcade in Taiwan. In 2015 an eight-year-old girl had her throat slit by a man who sneaked into a school in Taipei.