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Bomb hoax halts traffic in Brisbane

Nov. 14, 2005 at 5:49 AM

BRISBANE, Australia, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Three telephone calls threatening attacks on the public transport system in Brisbane, Australia, brought bus, train and ferry services to a halt Monday.

The bomb threats turned out to be a hoax, but Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said the public transport shutdown had provided a timely counter-terrorism exercise.

Police ordered services stopped around midday, after the first threatening phone call was received from a public telephone, The Australian reported. They remained stopped for more than 90 minutes.

All bus and train services were again suspended and passengers evacuated from all stations between 4:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. in response to the anonymous calls, causing confusion for thousands of peak-hour commuters.

Beattie admitted the authorities were over-cautious in responding so dramatically to what they suspected was a hoax, but added, "I would rather be over-cautious than have someone's life or lives on our conscience."

The instigator of the prank calls could face up to seven years in jail, if caught.

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