Mon, Aug 28, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Police step up security after Web threat

PRECAUTIONS Additional forces were deployed after messages were found on a Web site that threatened to bomb Taipei's train station and presidential buildings

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police defy the rain yesterday afternoon to oversee a preparatory exercise for personnel that will be responsible for maintaining order and discipline during the upcoming sit in demonstration outside the Presidential Office. Police forces went on heightened alert on Saturday night through to yesterday at noon after messages were posted online that threatened to bomb Taipei Railway Station, the Presidential Office and the presidential residence. No bombs or dangerous materials were found after security sweeps of the locations.

PHOTO: CNA

Police tightened security around the Taipei Railway Station, the Presidential Office building and the Presidential residence from late on Saturday night to yesterday at noon after messages were posted on a Web site threatening to bomb and set fire to the two locations.

Taipei police said that two messages posted in a chat room on the Yahoo Web site threatened to make the attacks on Saturday at 11pm.

The messages contained instructions on how to make bombs and also said that bombs had been placed at Taipei Railway Station.

Railway sweep

The Railway Police Bureau, informed by security agencies of the threat, initiated a security sweep through the station on Saturday night.

Officers used detectors and police dogs to check suspicious boxes, packages and bags.

Police also body searched some passengers.

Vice director of Taipei Railway Station Wang Ching-hai (王青海) told the media that "after the last scheduled train left the station early yesterday morning, the station closed and police launched another sweep of the station."

Wang said police did not find anything dangerous.

Emergency deployment

Meanwhile, Taipei police on Saturday night established an emergency command post near the Presidential Office building and the presidential residence.

A number of police and presidential guards were deployed to both locations in case of possible attacks.

Police also searched the areas surrounding the two locations.

The Taipei City Police Department also said that officers in charge of computer crime were undertaking an investigation in an effort to determine who had posted the threatening messages on the Web site.

The perpetrators if they were found, the department said.

Security concerns have been highlighted recently because of the ongoing campaigns against President Chen Shui-bian(陳水扁), including a sit-in that is to be launched by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) that is aimed at pressuring the president to step down.

Recent incidents

On July 27, 44-year-old Chang Han-ming (張漢明) allegedly fired 13 flares into the sky in front of the Presidential Office building.

Chang, who told police he committed the crime because he was dissatisfied with Chen and his aide's alleged involvement in a series of scandals, has been detained on charges of endangering public safety.

The Taiwan High Court last month also sentenced Kao Pao-chung (高寶中) to life imprisonment for a blast near the Taipei Railway Station in December 2004.

Kao rigged a minivan full of gas canisters explosion and then ignited it. The resulting blast did not injure anyone, but it destroyed two vehicles that were parked next to the minivan.

Kao said that he had committed the crime because of his discontentment with the performance of the DPP government.

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