Authorities apprehend man for fake bomb threat

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Authorities apprehend man for fake bomb threat

The police on Sunday apprehended a Korean-Chinese man who allegedly threatened a day earlier to blow up the King Sejong statue located in central Seoul.

The Hwaseong Dongbu Police Precinct in Gyeonggi said on Sunday that its officers rounded up the 34-year-old suspect, surnamed Nam, at his studio apartment in Osan, Gyeonggi, earlier in the day. Nam was reportedly coming home drunk when he was raided.

Nam is believed to have called the 119 emergency hot line at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday and threatened that he would blow up the King Sejong statue at 2:30 p.m. He is alleged to have called again at 2:15 p.m. to say the blast was fast approaching. The police immediately dispatched the explosive ordinance disposal unit, setting up a police barricade around the statue and conducting of search of the surrounding area with military forces. They withdrew from the scene at 3 p.m. after no explosives were found.

Police traces revealed that the suspect made five calls to the 119 and 112 hot lines between 1:15 p.m. and 4:47 p.m. from a motel in Osan, Gyeonggi.

They concluded that the man’s reports were false, given that he had made 98 calls to the 112 police hot line since September claiming that he would commit suicide, or to issue noise complaints. The police added that no action had been taken before because his previous calls had not led to significant disturbances.

The police plan to investigate Nam and request a detention warrant if necessary. They are also considering filing a claim for any possible financial damage resulting from his latest calls.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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