Thu, 03 Aug 2000

First the bomb, now the hoaxes

JAKARTA (JP): Still gripped by horror after Tuesday's powerful blast in front of the Philippine envoy's residence, Jakartans received more scary news: bomb hoaxes.

According to City Police data, bomb squad personnel rushed to at least four buildings, where owners or management reported they had been called by unidentified callers from Tuesday evening until Wednesday afternoon and warned about bombs hidden on the premises.

After making thorough checks, the squad declared all sites safe and said the calls were hoaxes.

Acting Jakarta Police spokesman Asst. Supt. Alex Mandalika on Wednesday called on city residents not to panic over the bomb hoaxes.

"They are just the work of irresponsible parties, who are manipulating the bomb blast incident to create unrest in the city," he said at his office.

The first two bomb threats was recorded almost at the same time of around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, or about 12 hours after the blast at the residence of Ambassador Leonides T. Caday.

Unidentified callers warned of bombs at the Tanah Airku theater at the vast Taman Mini Indonesia Indah park in East Jakarta and at a lodging in Sukabumi Selatan, West Jakarta where local Indonesian workers planning to work overseas reside.

Around midday on Wednesday, hundreds of employees at the 18- story Plaza Great River building on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta evacuated the building in panic following a bomb threat received by telephone operator, Ira.

In Tangerang, every inch of the 13 rooms of a factory belonging to electronics producing firm PT Lions Goldstar at Ciracap village in Legok was combed by bomb squad members from the Jakarta Police headquarters, who rushed to the site at the request of the plant's management.

According to Legok Police subprecinct chief First Insp. Ellysius, the company's telephone operator, Ita Rossini received a call from a mysterious person at around 10 a.m. Wednesday about a bomb planted at the plant that soon would explode.

"Without the knowledge of the employees, the management then rang the bomb squad and asked them for a thorough examination," Ellysius said.

During the examination, the work continued as usual after the bomb squad personnel explained to some of the factory workers that they were doing routine practice at the premises. (asa/41/bsr)