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Police question two workers about blackout at Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport

Subcontractor employees fled scene, leaving cable cutter behind

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A March 11 blackout at Taoyuan Airport's Terminal 2 was likely caused by two employees of a subcontractor. 

A March 11 blackout at Taoyuan Airport's Terminal 2 was likely caused by two employees of a subcontractor.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two employees of a subcontractor faced questioning Tuesday (March 15) about a blackout at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last week.

The March 11 power outage at Taiwan’s main airport affected lighting and also paralyzed baggage carrousels at Terminal 2. Despite initial reports focusing on the possibility of a technical failure, further investigations concluded that the blackout was man-made, CNA reported.

An inspection of the building by the Taiwan International Airport Corporation (TIAC) turned up evidence of sabotage, according to airport police. Two employees of a subcontractor, surnamed Chung (鍾) and Hsu (徐), reportedly used a lift truck in an underground passageway to reach the ceiling and sever a cable with a hydraulic cable cutter.

However, because they were unable to remove the cable cutter afterward, they panicked and left without it, police said. By the time they showed up for work the following day, investigators were already suspicious of airport subcontractors and called a staff meeting.

The two employees, who were working on a fire prevention system, realized they were about to be unmasked and fled before being caught in an EVA Air repair facility, the report said.

Their motives for cutting off power to the terminal were still unclear as questioning proceeded Tuesday. The TIAC said it was unable to comment on the details of the matter as the judicial process had already started.