(Trinidad Guardian) A man, who sparked panic among Trincity Mall patrons and employees after making a hoax call warning of an imminent terrorist attack, was arrested by police hours after the incident thanks to the help of the Strategic Security Agency (SSA).
Addressing media at an emergency press conference at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, acting National Security Minister Stuart Young revealed that the suspect had been arrested by police after the call was traced with the assistance of the SSA.
While Young refused to divulge details about the suspect, he did say he was arrested with the phone used to place the call to police in his possession. The suspect remained in custody up to late last night and is expected to be charged later today.
While Young declined to speculate on possible charges for the suspect, the T&T Guardian understands that he is to be charged with the wasteful employment of police time. If convicted, the offence carries a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment.
Young said around 11.45 am yesterday, the T&T Police Service Command Centre received a call from a male who said that “something would happen” at the mall within 15 minutes.
“Within a matter of minutes both the Special Branch and Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit (CGIU) were able to assemble at Trincity Mall and have conversations with the owners of mall, who then took the decision to evacuate it,” Young said.
He said the TTPS’s Bomb Unit searched the mall for close to three hours and gave the owners permission to reopen the facility after no suspicious packages or devices were found.
“A very orderly evacuation took place, there were absolutely no shots fired, as being circulated,” he said.
Young also dispelled rumours of a similar threat being made on Long Circular Mall, St James, yesterday, as he said the mall’s management, which is the same as for Trincity Mall, took a precautionary measure to close the second establishment as only a handful of tenants—a supermarket, gym and radio station—were open on the Corpus Christi public holiday.
The hoax call comes days after a voice note warning of a possible Isis attack on shopping malls acrosss T&T this weekend was posted on social media websites and circulated on messaging services. No one has been arrested in connection with that warning and the TTPS is continuing investigations.
Young yesterday thanked the police for the efficient work is diffusing the situation.