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Chinese suspect identified in bomb threat against Taoyuan MRT

02/03/2023 10:32 PM
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Police inspect a Taoyuan Airport MRT line train. CNA photo Feb. 3, 2023
Police inspect a Taoyuan Airport MRT line train. CNA photo Feb. 3, 2023

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) A Chinese man, who is the main suspect in a series of bomb threats targeting Taiwan's public transportation systems and government offices, has been identified as being behind the latest threat against the Taoyuan Airport mass rapid transit (MRT) line, police said Friday.

Taoyuan Metro Corp., which operates the Taoyuan Airport MRT line, received an email on Friday morning containing a threat to carry out indiscriminate attacks on the line's A1 terminal at Taipei Main Station using a gas cylinder bomb.

The sender used VPN to mask his real IP address, pretending to be in the Netherlands, while his real whereabouts are unknown, according to police.

In the email, the sender threatened to carry out the bomb attack if the government goes ahead with a planned visit by a delegation of Swiss lawmakers.

The five-member delegation, led by Swiss-Taiwan parliamentary friendship group co-presidents Fabian Molina of the Social Democratic Party (SP) and Nicolas Walder of the Green Party, is scheduled to visit Taiwan from Feb. 5-10, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Photo courtesy of the Taoyuan Airport MRT
Photo courtesy of the Taoyuan Airport MRT

After an initial investigation, police identified the suspect sender as a Chinese man surnamed Zhang (張), who studied for his bachelor's and master's degrees in Taiwan from 2016 to 2021.

Since September 2021 -- two months after he left Taiwan -- Zhang has allegedly made a series of bomb threats targeting public transportation systems and government offices in the country, including threatening to plant explosives at Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) stations and the Presidential Office, according to police.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in June 2022.

On Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 this year, Zhang made similar threats against the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp., which operates the Taipei MRT, police said.

As of press time, none of the threats made by Zhang had been acted on.

(By Yeh Chen and Sean Lin)


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