Tokyo ‘Joker’ train attacker served new attempted murder warrant

A man arrested following a knife attack on a Tokyo train on Halloween night was served a fresh arrest warrant Monday on suspicion of attempted murder and arson, investigative sources said.

Kyota Hattori, 25, who wore a costume resembling that of the Batman villain the Joker during the attack, is suspected of trying to kill passengers including a 60-year-old woman by sprinkling approximately 3 liters of oil around the train and igniting it, the sources said.

He was first arrested over the attempted murder of a man in his 70s after stabbing him in the chest on Oct. 31 on the limited express train.

The floor of the Keio Line train and seats were burned in the attack that occurred around 8 p.m., but none of the around 15 passengers in the vicinity suffered any injury.

Hattori has been quoted by investigators as saying, “I practiced spraying liquid on people using a plastic bottle filled with water at a hotel” he was staying at, and that he “wanted to use the fire to force passengers into the train’s first car.”

He has also reportedly told the investigators he planned the attack “so he can get the death penalty.”

Investigators suspect Hattori thoroughly planned the entire attack, the sources said.

Videos recorded by people on the train showed passengers running to escape a large blaze in one of the carriages.

In June, Hattori quit a call center in Fukuoka at which he had worked for about three years, following a problem with a customer. After leaving the southwestern Japanese city in July, he stayed in Kobe and Nagoya, the sources said.

He told investigators he targeted Halloween as the trains would be busy with passengers and that his act was inspired by another knife attack in August in which a man splashed cooking oil on an Odakyu Electric Railway commuter train, though in that incident the oil failed to ignite.

He was living in a hotel in Hachioji in the west of the capital from around late September and purchased a costume similar to the one worn by the Joker and some 20 cans of oil, the sources said.

The incident, which caused panic and sent passengers scrambling through windows of the train when its doors were not immediately opened, took place on a 10-car service headed to Shinjuku — a busy station in central Tokyo — from Hachioji.

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