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July 8, 2011

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I was trying to get away, bomb man tells police

A MAN who sparked panic on a Shanghai Metro train by shouting there was a bomb onboard has been detained by police.

There was chaos on the Line 2 train from Jing'an Temple as it pulled into the Nanjing Road W. Station just after noon on Wednesday as passengers rushed to the front of the 8-carriage train and banged on the doors and windows to be let out.

Police said the man, surnamed Zheng, was detained in neighboring Jiangsu Province early yesterday for "fabricating terrorist information."

They said he had been having an argument on the train with a real estate broker over a trivial business matter.

Zheng suddenly stood up when the train was pulling into the Nanjing Road W. stop and shouted: "There's a bomb on the train!" police said.

He pointed at the broker saying he had a bomb in his suitcase. It was his way, police said, of trying to escape from the broker.

Zheng then ran from the rear of the train to the front, alarming other passengers as he ran. More than 50 panicked passengers followed him and crowded into the front carriage.

In the stampede, many passengers fell to the floor and were trampled on. No one was seriously injured but some passengers suffered bruises to their arms and legs.

As frightened passengers poured out from the train, Zheng fled the scene.

He was caught by police in Taixing after police identified him from surveillance tapes with the help of passengers.

Surveillance tapes at the Jing'an Temple Station showed that Zheng, 32, seemed to have been pushed against his will into the train by his companion, a male real estate broker, police said.

Zheng told officers he was eager to get rid of the man because he was afraid of being beaten up. He suddenly got the idea of shouting that there was a bomb on the train.

"I ran across six carriages and those scared passengers were running after me," Zheng told police.

He ran out of the station and took a cab to the bus station to make his escape.

Police and Metro officials appealed to passengers to stay calm in such situations in future and evacuate the train and station in an orderly manner. If anyone spots a suspicious package they should raise the alarm by alerting the driver through the emergency communication system, they said.

Police said yesterday that anyone spreading false alarms about bombs or other terrorist attacks could face several years in prison for the crime.


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