SAfrican police nab photographer after bomb threat

A 68-year-old German photographer was arrested for making a hoax bomb threat outside the venue where the World Cup draw was held Friday, police said.

Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo said the man was in custody and would appear in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Monday.

Naidoo said the journalist could only be named after he appeared in court. He declined to name the organization the photographer worked for except to say it was an “agency.”

The photographer claimed he had an explosive device in his bag, which he dropped and then tried to flee the scene, Naidoo said.

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 after an hour when police said the threat was over.

This was 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.

In the earlier incident, Naidoo said police were able to track the hoax caller down “within minutes” to a suburb in Cape Town.

Naidoo said making hoax bomb calls was a “serious criminal offense.” The journalist would be charged and could face a jail sentence, he said.

“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.”

Naidoo said no other incidents had been reported during the event, which drew thousands to watch the draw at a free fan park on Long Street, a strip of trendy bars and shops.

South Africa is attempting to show it can swiftly handle security issues and ensure that the country’s high crime rate does not deter fans from attending the 2010 World Cup.

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.