Tue, Apr 16, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Police release pair held over train bomb scare

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA and AFP

Two men arrested over an incident in which suitcases loaded with gasoline were planted on a high-speed train and near a lawmaker’s office have been released without charges, police said yesterday, adding that one of the devices could have emitted a cloud of poisonous gas.

The duo, brothers identified only by their surname Lai (賴), were arrested at their home in Greater Taichung on Sunday, but were released early yesterday morning after questioning, police said.

A police officer, who asked not to be named, said the pair had been ruled out as possible suspects.

Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said he expected further arrests soon.

“My understanding is that police have collected sufficient information on the suspects. The police should be able to catch them soon,” Lee told reporters.

The incident happened on Friday, when two unattended suitcases were found on a high-speed rail train bound for Taipei.

Two other suitcases, also containing gasoline, were found outside Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Chia-chen’s (盧嘉辰) office in New Taipei City (新北市).

After discovering the two suitcases on the train, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) evacuated 600 passengers at Taoyuan Station and police removed the cases for investigation.

Officers searched the train for evidence and the platform for trains bound for Taipei was temporarily closed during the removal of the suitcases, the company said.

It said it had not received any threats prior to the incident.

A middle-aged man dressed in police rain gear is suspected of planting explosives outside Lu’s office, according to video footage released by the legislator’s office on Sunday.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said they had completed an analysis of the explosive devices found on the train and outside Lu’s office, and said that had they gone off, the devices would have emitted poison gas.

The devices were connected to materials with an alarm clock, using a wire as a conduit.

Police said the perpetrators may have attempted to ignite the gasoline to cause the gas to explode. The investigation also found that while the way the devices were made was nearly identical, the chemical compounds used in them were different. The device at Lu’s office was a simple explosive device.

The task force investigating the case said it had found an SUV it believed had been used by the suspects at a privately owned parking lot near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, adding that surveillance cameras at the parking lot had also recorded images of what seemed to be two men. The task force said the pair appeared to change clothes before they arrived at the airport on Friday night and that they had told the parking attendant they would return on April 19.

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