Murder at the Jianguo Jade Market

I headed down Xinyi on the 22 to the Jianguo markets (crafts, flowers, jade).  I was meeting my friend Najia and wanted to shop for gems – or at least see what was available. The jade market is so large (at least 3 city blocks long) that we decided to start on the east side and work our way up and back on each section, making our way to the other side. I could see vendor after vendor with jade, jade, and more jade. Finally one vendor pointed out one of his neighbors, saying that she sold gems. Then suddenly it seemed that many vendors were packing up their booths (and it was only 1pm). At the night markets this happens when the police show up to check vendor permits; those without permits cover up their booths and wheel them away to avoid a fine. We saw police officers and thought that was happening here too. The gem vendor tried to be polite while she was throwing items into boxes, asking us to come back next week and pointing to the middle section of the market, one aisle from hers.

We still didn’t get it. The police tape should have been our first clue. And then we saw it and I wish we hadn’t.

A large pool of blood spreading over the floor. A forensics officer taking photos. Thankfully there was no body but it was obvious that something dire had occurred. We moved away and asked several of the nearby vendors, what had happened. One made a slashing motion across his throat. Suicide? Apparently not. A vendor at one of the booths nearest the scene said “fight” and made the same slashing motion. There wasn’t a lot of emotion expressed. A person had just been killed, in broad daylight, in a crowded market and no one  screamed, no one was crying, no one seemed in shock. (Violent crime is definitely not the norm in Taipei but I could find nothing in the news about this incident.)

As we moved further away from the crime scene, it seemed that most of the vendors had heard about the killing but again, it was more of the British stiff upper lip reaction than outrage or horror. We did a little more window shopping but in truth, it was difficult to concentrate. I doubt I will ever look at the jade market in the same way again. RIP unknown victim.

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Suzi Kamin
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:05:37

    For goodness sakes. I am glad you did not arrive earlier!! Violence happens and please be careful. Carry some pepper spray! Are you having Thanksgiving dinner? If so “enjoy”.

    Reply

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