Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Police release video footage of suspected `gas bomber'

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police yesterday patrol the Taipei 101, the world's tallest building, right before the campaign rally of President Chen Shui-bian. The legislative elections are scheduled from 8am to 4pm today.

PHOTO: FANG BIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The police yesterday made public video footage of the suspect who allegedly triggered a van explosion near the Taipei Railway Station yesterday and is suspected of also mailing letters to two local TV stations with bomb threats.

The video footage was from a security video system inside a convenience store on Taipei City's Gongyuan Road. On the footage, the suspect covered his face with a hat and a surgical mask. He was wandering outside the store for awhile and seemed to be waiting for something.

When a FedEx deliveryman came, he immediately hurried into the convenience store and asked the clerk to deliver two packages, which were the two bomb threats to TV stations.

After the footage was released, a man was taken into custody by police last night under suspicion of being the man in the video. According to the Taipei City Police Department's Chungcheng First Precinct, the man had been loitering around a convenience store in the area when police spotted him because of his conspicuous outfit.

The man was wearing a fisherman's hat and a sports jacket on which the words "CIA" had been written in black marker. However, the man was released after the FedEx deliveryman who had seen the bomb suspect confirmed that the man was not the one he had seen. The man was released.

"[The suspect in the video] looks 170cm tall and 35 years of age," said Feng Tung-san (馮棟森), deputy commissioner of the National Police Agency's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). "In the letters, the suspect said that there will be at least four bomb explosions in the city before election day."

Feng said that police had collected seven usable fingerprints from the crime scene and are currently matching them with their records.

In the meantime, the CIB also announced a NT$1 million reward to whoever provides sufficient information that leads to the arrest of the suspect.

Also, the police said that they strongly suspect that the suspect is a person who does not know how to use a computer because he handwrote the letters and misspelled several words in his letters.

The suspect sent the letters to TTV and TVBS on Thursday, stating that the Taipei Railway Station and Taipei 101 will be the targets of his attacks.

Around 12pm, a mini-van that had been loaded with 11 20kg gas tanks exploded in a parking lot next to the station. The vehicle was completely destroyed. Nobody was injured in the explosion, but two other vehicles parked nearby were also destroyed.

At Taipei 101, the police immediately sealed the building and carried out a search for other potential explosives.

The raid was conducted by more than 200 police officers, military police and special agents overnight, because President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) carried out an outdoor campaign activity in front of the building yesterday morning. After five detailed searches, no dangerous items were discovered.

In addition to a raid at the building, the military police also deployed snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings to prevent a potential assassination attempt or attack on the president during the activity.

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