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Suspect held after quake rumor sparks panic

POLICE in north China's Shanxi Province have detained a suspect after an earthquake rumor prompted thousands of people to flee their homes and sleep outdoors in the cold.

Shanxi police said they traced the rumor from a post on Baidu's Tieba forum warning of an earthquake, and are questioning the suspect.

The panic was sparked by a one-week review of rescue facilities after authorities tested emergency procedures in case of a real earthquake.

A resident in Lingshi County named Zhao Liu said his sister rang him screaming for him to leave the house on February 20 because she'd heard about an earthquake on the Internet.

Zhao said when he rushed all his family outside, everyone else in the apartment building was also leaving, with thousands trying to leave by road.


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