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The Risk Professional : don't let the media fool you: terrorism is not a "western" problem

Editorial Staff

The bombing of the Boston Marathon gained justifiably widespread publicity. But it was not the biggest terrorist event of the long weekend, nor even the event which could have proved the most deadly. But another event went largely unnoticed by the "western" media. Why? It happened in Taiwan.Then there's the 16 killed in an attack in Pakistan.

Facts: 600 people, high-speed train, suitcase bombs, poison gas (or petrol : reports are confused).

600 people: that's almost two full airliners worth of people.

Yet, aside from regional media and some specialist blogs, the story barely sneaked out. Small items on CNN and Yahoo's websites picked it up, as did Time.

Taiwan is not on the Global media's radar, except insofar as it may occasionally get involved in some kind of spat with China.

Last Friday, Taiwanese police found two bags containing explosives and gas cannisters on a train. They failed to detonate not because they were not viable but because the current produced by their timing devices was not sufficient to trigger the explosives. They were not the only bombs: two more similar devices were delivered to the offices of Member of Parliament LU Chia Chen.

More than 600 people were subjected to emergency evacuation from the train.

Two suspects were identified and arrested but released after questioning, apparently cleared of all suspicion. But yesterday, two men were arrested in Guandong, China and immediately sent to Taiwan in an example of co-operation that belies the talk of fundamental differences between China and Taiwan.

The suitcases were discovered before the train left Taipei's Taoyuan station because their owners could not be identified.

A suicide bomber killed 16 and wounded at least 50 others at an election campaign meeting in Pakistan's Peshawar region, the same day that former president Musharaff was subjected to an order banning him from running in the election: whether the two events are connected is not known.