TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man frightened passengers on Thursday evening (Feb. 25) when he claimed to be carrying "explosives" — which turned out to be black tea — aboard a Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) train.
At 10:20 p.m. on Thursday, police received a report from the THSR control center about a male in his 40s who had boarded the No. 857 train at Tainan Station bound for Kaohsiung's Zuoying Station. He told a conductor that he was carrying "explosives" on the train.
A police SWAT team, firefighters, and explosives experts from the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) rushed to Zuoying Station and evacuated passengers from the area. When the suspect, surnamed Lin (林), got off the train and onto the platform at Zuoying at 10:30 p.m., he exclaimed, "There are explosives inside!" reported Newtalk.
He then dropped a cardboard box onto the platform. Explosives experts immediately covered the box with a bomb suppression blanket.
Police had a tense standoff with the man and they communicated with him for over 30 minutes. At around 11:10 p.m., when Lin appeared to let down his guard, officers rushed forward, tackled him to the ground, and restrained him.
Out of caution, officers at around 12:05 a.m. used an X-ray machine to scan the box left on the platform by the suspect but found nothing suspicious. After confirming there were no explosives in the box, they opened it up and found only clothing and two small cartons of black tea, reported Liberty Times.
Contents of cardboard box, including two cartons of black tea. (Kaohsiung City Government Police Bureau photo)
The conductor told police he thought Lin was acting suspiciously and asked him if he needed assistance. It was then that Lin suddenly shouted, "I'm carrying explosives."
Police said that Li appeared to be in a poor mental state and has a history of medical treatment for mental illness. According to police, the suspect and witnesses were still undergoing questioning about the incident as of Friday morning (Feb. 26).
After questioning is completed, Li will be transferred to the prosecutor's office to be investigated for violating Article 305 of the Criminal Code (刑法) for threatening and endangering public safety (恐嚇危害安全罪).