General

(LEAD) Flurry of reports of suspicious int’l parcels received in S. Korea

Police said Saturday they received continued reports of suspicious international packages for the second straight day across the nation amid concerns that the parcels might contain an unspecified hazardous material.Police said they received a total of…

Police said Saturday they received continued reports of suspicious international packages for the second straight day across the nation amid concerns that the parcels might contain an unspecified hazardous material.

Police said they received a total of 987 reports related to the delivery of dubious parcels from abroad, mostly from Taiwan, on Friday alone, and more similar reports have continued.

Regional government authorities sent out an emergency alert to citizens not to open such parcels in cases where the identity of the sender is not clear. They also advised people to report suspicious international packages to police or fire fighters.

In most parcels, lip balm or other cheap products were found, with some packages delivered empty.

Police said they will decide whether to launch an investigation, depending on the results of substance analysis. Police seem to see the possibility of terrorism as low, as no hazardous material has been detected in such parcels.

Reports of suspicious international packages began Thursday, when a random parcel from Taiwan was delivered to a welfare center for the disabled in the southeastern city of Ulsan.

Three people working at the facility who unpacked it were sent to a hospital as they suffered dizziness and difficulty breathing.

Police suspected a toxic gas from the parcel might have affected them. But a test by the state-run defense research agency found that there was no hazardous material.

Police are looking into the possibility of a "brushing scam," in which sellers at online shopping platforms send unordered products to people after illegally acquiring personal information. The scam is aimed at boosting sales and manipulating sellers' ratings on online shopping sites.

Authorities called for vigilance against suspicious international parcels. They said the color of such packages could be yellow or black, and they could have "CHUNGHWA POST" written on them. The sender could be P.O. Box 100561-003777, Taipei Taiwan.

The Taipei Mission in South Korea said it had found that such parcels were initially sent from China and arrived in South Korea after a stopover in Taiwan.

Taiwan's customs agency has conducted a probe over the delivery route of the suspected packages, and the mission said it has shared the results of the probe with the South Korean police and related agencies for close cooperation.

Source: Yonhap News Agency