Law passed to strengthen railway emergency response training

The Legislative Yuan passed a bill Tuesday aimed at strengthening emergency response and safety training for railway workers after a controversial ruling in a case in which a railway officer was fatally stabbed last year.(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Legislative Yuan passed a bill Tuesday aimed at strengthening emergency response and safety training for railway workers after a controversial ruling in a case in which a railway officer was fatally stabbed last year.

Under the revisions to the Railway Act, railways will be required to provide regular training for workers on trains and at stations in the areas of occupational safety, emergency responses, and health and epidemic prevention.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), who proposed the amendments, said passenger railways form a vital part of the nation’s transportation network but have been marred in recent years by several attacks against train conductors and security personnel.

The attacks, which are often set off by disputes with fare evaders, show the need for strengthening emergency response training, Lee said.

The legislation’s health and sanitation element, meanwhile, is in response to the risks posed by the annual flu season and the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee said.

The legislation comes after the Chiayi District Court decided last week to commute the sentence of a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), for fatally stabbing 24-year-old railway police officer Lee Cheng-han (李承翰) on a train from Tainan to Taipei last July.

The court reasoned that Cheng’s long history of schizophrenia constituted a form of diminished responsibility, and ruled that he could be released on NT$500,000 (US$16,779) bail and transferred to a secure facility, where he was to be treated for mental health problems for five years.

The decision set off a wave of public anger, and drew rare responses from both President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌). The Chiayi District Prosecutors Office appealed the ruling on Saturday.