Suspect held for Incheon Airport’s faux bomb

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Suspect held for Incheon Airport’s faux bomb

A 36-year-old Korean man suspected of having planted a fake bomb at Incheon International Airport last week was apprehended Wednesday night at his residence in Guro District, southwestern Seoul, local authorities said Thursday.

The arrest came five days after a box suspected to contain an explosive was discovered in a stall in a men’s restroom on the airport’s first floor Jan. 29. Police didn’t find an explosive in the box but they did find a menacing note folded in half inside.

The note, written in grammatically incorrect Arabic, roughly read: “This is the last warning. God will punish you.”

Taped to the box were two gas cylinders and a water bottle, all of which were at least partially full. Inside the box were food scraps - broccoli, cabbage and a banana peel - as well as three guitar strings, four batteries and four pieces of electric wire, among other things.

The suspect, whom authorities identified by the surname Yoo, was charged with intimidation and conspiring to cause destruction through an explosive device. Police quoted Yoo as saying he “never really meant to detonate the object.”

Yoo, who is a married man with one child, told police that he was “frustrated about being unemployed and short on cash,” and that he recalled scenes from movies to create the faux bomb. The food scraps were from his refrigerator, he said.

As to how he managed to write the Arabic message on the sheet of A4 paper, Yoo, who has a Masters degree in music, said he relied on an online automatic translator.

Profilers will further question his intentions. Police seized a computer from Yoo’s house to discern whether he has any links with a terrorist group. A detention warrant will be requested soon. Authorities reviewed footage from some 90 CCTVs near the restroom at the airport and narrowed down their key suspect to Yoo after seeing him walk into the restroom at 3:36 p.m. with a shopping bag and leave two minutes later.

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