Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Mysterious bag triggers bomb scare at school

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A green bag discovered on the sidewalk in front of the Taipei American School in Tienmu sparked a full-scale bomb alert yesterday, but turned out to contain nothing more than beer, fruit and paper -- after it was blown up.

The police said that they received a phone call around 3:40pm from a person who reported he had discovered a "weird green handbag" on the sidewalk in front of the school.

Given the description, the police officials decided to sent out a bomb-disposal team and asked the caller to stay away from the bag. The police sealed off the two northbound lanes of Chungshan North Road in front of the school while the bomb experts tried to defuse the suspected bomb.

After a few minutes, the bomb squad decided to remove the bag and transport it to the park next to the Tienmu Baseball Stadium -- a more open location -- ?in order to blow it up.

"Judging by the debris, there were some bottles of beer, pieces of paper and fruit inside the bag, not the explosives that had been reported," said Keng Chi-wen (耿繼文), director of Taipei City Police's Shihlin Precinct.

"We are glad that it was not a bomb. At this moment, this bag seemed to be only a lost carry-all that somebody may have forgotten on the sidewalk instead of leaving it there on purpose," Keng said.

"However, we will continue our investigation to determine whether somebody was trying to scare the public or if it was simply a misunderstanding," Keng said.

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