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January 17, 2013

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Bomb threat forces Lujiazui office tower evacuation

HUNDREDS of office workers were evacuated from a building in Lujiazui yesterday afternoon after a man threatened to blow up a bank branch in the lobby.

The suspect, who was not identified, was taken into custody by the police and no explosives were found at the scene, Pudong New Area police said.

No one was injured.

The incident happened around 3pm yesterday at a Citi Bank outlet on the first floor of Marine Tower at No. 1 Pudong Road S., according to the bank.

The suspect, who spoke with a Guangdong accent, walked into the bank, claimed he was carrying bombs and demanded 1 million yuan (US$160,725). The man said if he wasn't given the money, he would detonate the bombs, according to the bank's press release, which was released last night.

"It looked like he was holding a remote control," a witness said.

While negotiating with the suspect, the bank soon evacuated clients and employees and called the police.

After an hour of negotiation, the suspect was nabbed by police at 4:52pm. No explosives were found on him, police said, adding they still don't know the suspect's motive.

Dozens of companies in the 25-story building told their employees to leave after being informed about the incident.

"We were having a meeting and when we came down the stairs we found many people were getting off work," a security guard told Shanghai Daily. "Usually people get off around 5pm or 5:30pm, many people left around 4:30pm."

Liu Rui, 16, was sentenced on Tuesday in Shanghai to 14 months in prison after joking he had planted a bomb on a plane last October.

The false alarm caused the Chongqing bound flight to return to Shanghai. Liu said he made up the bomb story because he was angry after quarreling with his father, the court said.

The hoax cost the airline nearly 100,000 yuan (US$16,070).


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