A foreign journalist has been arrested after he made a hoax bomb threat outside the venue where the 2010 World Cup draw is to be held, a police spokesman said Friday.
This is the second arrest for hoax threats after police nabbed a South African man who made two calls saying a bomb had been planted at the airport, where security is tight.
Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo said the journalist claimed he had an explosive device in his bag, which he dropped and then tried to flee the scene.
Article continues below ...
Sniffer dogs and a bomb disposal unit were brought to Cape Town International Convention Center and the main entrance used by journalists was sealed off. People were allowed back into the building about an hour later when police said the threat was over.
Naidoo said the journalist was being held for questioning. He would not reveal the journalist’s nationality but said he was accredited to cover the event.
Naidoo said making hoax bomb calls was a “serious criminal offense.” The journalist would be charged and could face a jail sentence, he said.
In the earlier incident, Naidoo said police were able to track the hoax caller down “within minutes” to a suburb in Cape Town.
“During these kinds of events we will get these situations, but we have to treat them with all seriousness,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have mischief makers who want to disrupt proceedings.”
South Africa is desperate to show that it can swiftly handle any security issues and ensure that the country’s high crime rate does not deter fans from attending next year’s event.
The country has one of the highest crime rates in the world with about 50 murders a day. World Cup organizers say the country has recruited more than 140,000 extra police, with 100,000 more in reserve, backed up by more vehicles and water cannons.