A convenience store clerk in Taoyuan was yesterday allegedly stabbed to death by a customer after asking the customer to wear a mask.
The incident occurred a little after 5am at a store on Guangfong Street in Gueishan District (龜山), police said.
When the suspect, surnamed Chiang (蔣), 41, entered the store without wearing a mask, the 30-year-old clerk, surnamed Tsai (蔡), asked that he put one on, police said.
Photo courtesy of a member of the public
Chiang exited the store and came back wearing a mask, they said, adding that after paying for his items he took it off and threw it at Tsai before leaving.
Chiang returned shortly afterward and called for the clerk to come out from behind the counter, where he allegedly stabbed him repeatedly in the left side of his chest, they added.
A witness reported the incident to the police, and paramedics arriving at the scene found Tsai with three 3cm knife wounds in his chest, police said, adding that he lost consciousness soon afterward.
Tsai lost vital signs in the ambulance and could not be resuscitated, they added.
Police said that Chiang was in a stupor when he was brought into the station, but began to express remorse after realizing what had happened and admitted guilt under questioning.
The knife allegedly used in the stabbing is reportedly a tool Chiang used in his line of work as a paper-cutting artist, they added.
Tsai’s father arrived at the police station in shock, repeatedly asking how his son could have died while at work, police said.
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) on Facebook condemned the “hair-raising brutality” of the act, and said he has called for a full investigation and severe punishment.
He has instructed the city government to fully assist Tsai’s family with funeral and any other arrangements, Cheng added.
The stabbing was the latest in a series of violent attacks targeting convenience store clerks for requesting compliance with the government’s mask mandate.
In September, a man attacked a clerk in Pingtung County after she asked him to wear a mask, injuring her eyes.
Last month, a clerk in Taichung sustained serious injuries when a customer assaulted him with a glass bottle.
The Central Epidemic Command Center thanked store clerks for their commitment to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also condemned the “unacceptable” acts of violence and requested that clerks prioritize their own safety and report uncooperative customers to the authorities.
Additional reporting by Wei Chin-chun
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