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September 27, 2017

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Explosives found on High Speed Rail train

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan High Speed Rail authorities yesterday morning discovered two middle-sized suitcases in a northbound train's lavatory, with police later confirming that the suitcases contained bottles of flammable liquids and explosive devices.

Officials said a passenger smelled gasoline near the toilet and discovered two unidentified suitcases while the train was moving toward Hsinchu Station (新竹站).

Authorities reported the incident to police before the train arrived at Hsinchu Station. Police, firefighters and crime scene investigators subsequently boarded the train and conducted a security inspection through the carriages.

Police blocked Platform 2 at Hsinchu Station.

Using the station's broadcast system, railway staff evacuated over 600 passengers after the train stopped at Taoyuan Station (桃園站). Another northbound train was arranged for passengers transiting to Taipei.

Police followed standard procedure in removing the two suitcases from the train and handed the suitcases to Railway Police Bureau personnel.

Ku Jung-tseng (古榮增), a Railway Police Bureau official, said the two suitcases contained bottles of petroleum-based liquid with some white-colored pellets and several self-timer devices. Ku added that police suspected the two suitcases were brought to the train by a man.

The railway said they have not recently received any threats.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩), who was on the train, said she took the train from Hsinchu Station. She added that when the train arrived at Taoyuan Station, the conductor of the train asked all passengers to transfer to another train.

Hsu said the arrival time to Taipei was delayed 38 minutes due to the incident.

Taiwan High-Speed Rail offered every passenger who was on the train a discounted fare coupon in compensation.

KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), who was also on the train, said at first she thought the train had technical problems. Only later was she told by other passengers that there were explosive materials onboard.

Even though the evacuation drill caused inconvenience to hundreds of passengers, no one complained or panicked while transiting to the other train, which is impressive, she said.

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