Sat, Aug 05, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Terrorist hoaxer gets prison term

DPA , TAIPEI

A court has given an Italian man a five-month suspended jail term for reporting to police that his two colleagues were terrorists, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The man, an employee at an Italian company, made the false claim to Taipei police last year after being fired by his employer, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) reported.

The paper identified the man only by his surname, Picciotti.

To get revenge against the company, Picciotti sent an e-mail to Taipei police, saying that two Lebanese-born terrorists holding Italian passports were flying into Taipei on Oct. 16 last year to carry out a plot to blow up the world's tallest building -- the 508m Taipei 101 -- and the Taipei MRT system.

The e-mail gave details about the men's hair color and height, along with their flight number.

Police believed it was a prank but became concerned when the two men arrived that day in Taipei, the paper said.

Police followed the two men during their stay in Taipei and discovered that although they had visited Taipei 101 and rode the MRT trains, the reasons for their trip were meetings and sightseeing.

Police traced the email to Picciotti, who was arrested and turned over to prosecutors.

Picciotti confessed to the hoax and showed his remorse by donating NT$200,000 (US$6,000) to Taiwan World Vision.

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