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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Taiwan campus hoax sparks anger
Students at National Taiwan University
The legislators were concerned about a possible copycat attack
Two MPs who faked a hostage-taking at Taiwan's top university after the US school shootings have been condemned by the island's governing party.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made a public apology after two MPs reported that students had been taken hostage at National Taiwan University.

Armed police rushed to the campus, only to be told that the call was a hoax aimed at testing their response time.

The pair may face disciplinary action, but have defended their action.

Police who rushed to scene found Lee Chen-nan and another legislator, Lin Kuo-ching, on campus with a number of reporters.

The hoax drew sharp criticism from the DPP, which issued an apology, and from Taiwan's cabinet, which said authorities would investigate whether the MPs broke any laws.

Campus conciliatory

At a news conference, Mr Lee said he only acted out of concern for the welfare of students.

"A lot of students were supportive, so what do I have to apologise for?

This action we can accept because it follows a major event, but if it happens again, we'll have questions
University spokesman
"Why can't a legislator express himself like that? Don't we have this kind of freedom?

A university spokesman said some students were annoyed by the exercise, which he called a "stunt", but said he understood the MPs motives.

"This was the legislators' and media's expression of concern, done with good intentions to remind us of how to do our work," Fu Li-chen said.

"This action we can accept because it follows a major event, but if it happens again, we'll have questions."

More than 50 Taiwanese are studying at Virginia Tech University in the US, the scene of Monday's deadly shootings.

Taiwan's prime minister, Su Tseng-chang, has called for improved security at the island's universities, saying Taiwan could learn some lessons from the US shooting.


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