A man dressed in Batman’s Joker costume has attacked passengers on a Tokyo train line, injuring 17 people as party-goers headed into the city centre for Halloween celebrations.
At least one victim, a man in his 60s, is in a critical condition after the stabbings on the Keio express line bound for Shinjuku, the world’s busiest rail station.
Witnesses reported seeing the attacker spread fluid around the train and light a fire. A video shows the costumed man later sitting calmly inside a carriage and lighting up a cigarette.
Police arrested the suspected attacker – a 24-year-old man – as he sat on the train.
One video uploaded on Twitter and broadcast on NHK showed a steady stream of people running away from a train car where, seconds later, a small explosion caused a fire.
Another video showed passengers rushing to squeeze out of the train’s windows and onto the platform where the train had made an emergency stop.
“I thought it was a Halloween stunt,” one witness told the Yomiuri newspaper, recalling the moment he saw other passengers running in a panic towards his train car.
“Then, I saw a man walking this way, slowly waving a long knife.”
He said there was blood on the knife.
Another video on Twitter showed a bespectacled man dressed in a purple suit and bright green shirt, as worn by the Joker, seated in an empty train puffing on a cigarette, his legs crossed and looking calm.
🇯🇵The same man (in the Joker costume) who attacked the passengers of the Tokyo subway today.
— The RAGE X (@theragex) October 31, 2021
He can be seen through the window being surrounded by law enforcement in a subsequent clip.
Local media reported later that the suspect told authorities he “wanted to kill people so he could be sentenced to death”.
Partial service on the Keio line remained suspended late on Sunday, when Japanese voters went to the polls in a lower house election.
TV footage showed scores of firefighters, police and emergency vehicles outside the station where the train had stopped.