SWAT team descends on iffy suitcase in subway

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SWAT team descends on iffy suitcase in subway


Firefighters leave the Gangnam District Office subway station in southern Seoul yesterday after checking a suspicious suitcase that only contained garments. [NEWSIS]

The Gangnam District Office subway station in southern Seoul was shut down yesterday afternoon after an abandoned suitcase was suspected to contain a bomb.

The suitcase actually contained clothes. After X-raying the bag, the police apparently mistook a hanger for the detonator of a bomb.

At 2:05 p.m., a passenger discovered an abandoned black suitcase on the platform of the Bundang line and used the emergency telephone system to report it. A station agent reported to the police that the suitcase may contain a bomb.

A SWAT team and detection dogs moved in.

The subway’s operator, Korail, announced via Twitter (@korail1899) at 2:41 p.m. yesterday that a “strange object was found” at the Gangnam District Office Station and that trains on the Bundang line and line No. 7 would pass through without stopping.

“The police and related organizations are currently taking action,” the tweet added.

Commotion surrounding the case grew at 4:30 p.m. when local news outlets reported that the police said the bag contained an explosive device. The media withdrew those reports later, explaining that the police had made a “misconceived report.”

The police were found to have mistaken a hanger as a detonator after X-raying the bag.

Train service resumed at around 4:45 p.m.

The National Police Agency posted a photo of some pants and shirts on Twitter at 5 p.m., writing that the “object suspected to be an explosive device turned out to be a bundle of garments.” It further advised locals to “stay calm.”

CCTV footage showed that the suitcase had been left by an elderly person, the police said.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]

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