Suspect in fake airport bomb case to face trial

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Suspect in fake airport bomb case to face trial

A 34-year-old man arrested earlier this month for planting a fake bomb at Incheon International Airport will face trial.

The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office charged the man, surnamed Yoo, on Thursday with intimidation, conspiring to cause destruction and violation of the airport security law.

Yoo left a box suspected to contain an explosive device along with a threatening note written in Arabic around 4 p.m. on Jan. 29 in a stall of a men’s bathroom on the airport’s first floor.

He had attached two gas cylinders and a water bottle to the box using tape, and connected an electronic tuning device for musical instruments with a viola string and placed it, along with four batteries, inside the box. There was no detonating device.

In order to mimic a terror attack, and make it seem as though it was orchestrated by a terrorist group, Yoo used an online automatic translator to write a threatening note in Arabic, which, though grammatically incorrect, roughly read: “This is the last warning. God will punish you.”

Having majored in viola in his graduate studies, Yoo had a hard time finding a stable job. He reportedly had few friends and would spend his free time traveling subways with no particular destination or looking up videos online about bomb-making.

Yoo exhibited meticulous planning during his activities at the airport. According to police, he threw away the shopping bag in which he carried the fake bomb once he left the airport, and took off and put on his jacket to confound CCTV camera footage. Police determined that Yoo had planned the act for two days.

In investigating Yoo’s cellphone and computer, police concluded that he acted alone. A counterterrorism system within the Incheon District’s Prosecutors’ Office will be established, they added, to ensure strict management of crimes in public places.

BY CHOI MO-RAN [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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