Mon, 10 Feb 2003

Police headquarters panicked by bomb hoax

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A large envelope of documents, suspected of containing an explosive, caused the police to panic on Sunday following a bomb threat by an unidentified telephone caller.

The threat turned out to be a hoax, however, as revealed after the police bomb squad immediately combed the vicinity of police headquarters in South Jakarta.

The incident began when an unidentified man phoned an on-duty officer at 12:50 p.m., saying that a bomb had been planted somewhere in the compound.

The man claimed to be calling from Cikini, Central Jakarta.

The officer immediately called the bomb squad, who arrived soon after to search the compound.

To the squad's surprise, when they checked the incoming packages and letters, their metal detector beeped over a package intended for the police directorate of finance.

The squad later found out that the large envelope only contained documents fastened with metal paper clips.

The bomb threat was the first to come following the embarrassing experience earlier last week, when a bomb ripped through the lobby of Wisma Bhayangkari, which is located in the same compound with national police headquarters.

The device detonated before the bomb squad's arrival, although it had been found by building janitors nearly an hour before it exploded. The bombing was a slap in the face for the police force, coming on the heels of their success in uncovering the terrorist networks responsible for the October 12 Bali bombings.

The Wisma Bhayangkari bomb attack was the first in the capital, as well as in the country, this year. The latest explosion last Saturday, which police claimed to just be a big firecracker, injured a farmer in Penggilingan, Cakung, East Jakarta. Last year, police reported at least four bomb attacks in the capital, which claimed a total of two lives.