A man disguised as a Batman villain, the Joker, was arrested after allegedly stabbing 10 people on a local train in Tokyo.
Witnesses described how the attacker also spilled oil around the car before setting it on fire, causing panic among passengers.
Tokyo train rampage Man wielding knife stabbed 10 passengers on train near Kokuryo station before ‘spraying acid on passengers’ and setting the carriage on fire Read More on https://t.co/VzhqT348Gg https://t.co/47bCTjXjap
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Hydrochloric acid was reportedly released in the attack on the Keio Express line to Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world.
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, 17 passengers were injured, three of them seriously.
Not all were stabbed and most of the injuries were not serious, authorities added.
According to media reports, a man in his 60s was passed out and in critical condition after being stabbed.
The assailant, identified only as a man in his twenties, was arrested at the scene and is under investigation for an alleged attempted murder, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
Nippon Television reported that the suspect told police that he had taken a previous drawback case as an example.
NHK said witnesses told police the shooter was wearing a light-colored outfit – a green shirt, blue suit, and purple coat that resembled the Joker from the Batman comics.
According to Tokyo police officers, the attack took place on the Keio train near Kokuryo Station.
Televised footage showed firefighters, police officers and paramedics rescuing passengers, many of whom escaped through the windows of the train.
In one video, passengers escaped from another car in which flames broke out.
NHK said the suspect spilled an oil-like liquid and set it on fire after stabbing passengers, partially burning the seats.
Shunsuke Kimura, who shot the video, told NHK that he saw passengers running in desperation and while trying to figure out what had happened he heard an explosive noise and saw smoke spreading.
He too jumped out of a window, but fell on the platform and injured his shoulder.
“The train doors were closed and we had no idea what was going on and we jumped out the windows,” said Kimura. “It was terrible.”
A video uploaded to Twitter showed a constant stream of people escaping from a train car where a fire broke out seconds later.
Another video showed passengers running out of the windows of the train onto the platform where the train had made an emergency stop.
“I thought it was a Halloween machine,” a witness told the Yomiuri newspaper, remembering the moment he saw other passengers run in a panic towards his car.
“Then I saw a man walking in that direction and slowly waving a long knife.”
The witness described how blood was on the knife, he said.
According to Kyodo News, a passenger between the ages of 60 and 70 lost consciousness after being stabbed.
A male passenger said, “I heard a loud bang and saw flames and smoke in the rear. Everyone panicked. ”
The incident was posted on social media by witnesses and televised footage showed firefighters, police officers and paramedics rescuing passengers.
Many passengers fled through the windows of the train after the doors did not open immediately when the train stopped.
The officers were seen entering the train the suspect was on and did not oppose the arrest.
The motive for the attack was not immediately known, but it happened on a 10-car train to Shinjuku in central Tokyo.
This is the second knife attack on a Tokyo train in two months.
In August, the day before the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony, a 36-year-old man stabbed 10 passengers on a Tokyo subway in an arbitrary outbreak of violence.
The suspect later told police that he wanted to attack women who appeared happy.
Although firearm deaths are rare in Japan, the country has seen a number of high-profile knife murders in recent years.
In 2019, a man with two knives attacked a group of female students waiting at a bus stop on the outskirts of Tokyo, killing two people and injuring 17 before committing suicide.
In 2018, a man killed a passenger and injured two others in a knife attack on a bullet train.
And in 2016 a former employee of a home for the disabled killed 19 people and injured more than 20.