E-mail threat to attack buildings seen as a hoax

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am


The government is regarding an e-mailed threat to attack four skyscrapers in Taiwan's two largest cities as a hoax, but says the authorities will not relax their vigilance in maintaining security.

The threat, e-mailed to Taipei City police on Wednesday by an organisation which called itself 'Aryan Nation', came just two days after the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

'Initial study shows the terror threat most likely is a hoax, though we are still following the standard operating procedures to tighten security at places under threat,' Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday. Hu Wei-chen, secretary general of the National Security Council, said the authorities had informed his council and President Ma Ying-jeou of the threat.

After tracking the internet protocol (IP) address of the e-mail, authorities found that it came from abroad, Jiang said. 'They are seeking foreign assistance in tracking the e-mail's IP and to determine whether there is an 'Aryan Nation' and if it is a terrorist organisation,' Jiang said.

The author of the roughly 100-word English message claimed that 'flammable chemicals' would be placed in four of Taiwan's tallest buildings - Taipei 101 and Shin Kong Life Tower in Taipei, Chang-Gu World Trade Centre, and Tuntex Sky Tower in the southern city of Kaohsiung, said Taipei police, who publicised the threat on Thursday.

The threat prompted police, security authorities and the management agencies of the four buildings to beef up security. Taiwanese media said visitors to the buildings showed no signs of panic when reporters asked whether they were worried about being attacked.

Kuomintang lawmaker Shuai Hua-ming, a former general, said there was no strong reason for international terrorists to target Taiwan.

Coincidentally, the Kaohsiung Harbour Bureau yesterday staged an annual anti-terror drill at one of its wharfs.