Friday, August 13, 2004
weapon of mass destruction in his trousers
Taipei Times: "Australians who want to get away from it all go to Tasmania, an island state of Australia that lists carrots among its major exports.

But world affairs caught up with Tasmania recently when a local found himself in court over a terrorism scare.

Phillip Lowe, a 60-year-old piano tuner, told a female security guard in a Hobart car park that he had a weapon of mass destruction in his trousers.

'This is a warning story for the whole of Australia, this is,' Lowe told Australia's ABC Radio.

'Anybody can point the finger at anybody and cost them an awful lot of money and an awful lot of anguish -- and you're gone, mate, you're gone,' he said.

Lowe doesn't deny the incident took place or that he behaved foolishly.

'I said I had a weapon of mass destruction and I rotated my hips, suggestively, I must admit,' he said.

Police charged Lowe with making a false threat, but when the case was brought to court, Tasmania's Director of Public Prosecutions decided the matter was too trivial to proceed with.

Lowe's lawyer, Garth Ste-phens, claimed the authorities had overreacted.

'Even if he said what was claimed to have been said, it was probably unnecessary for the police to go as far as charging him, detaining him and searching his house and car,' Stephens said.

That view is disputed by Australian Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, who said Lowe was out of order in claiming the government had whipped up public hysteria over the threat of terrorism.

'Is he suggesting that Sept. 11 didn't occur in the United States? Is he suggesting that Australia hasn't been the subject of a very clear threat? Is he suggesting that Australians didn't tragically die in Bali?' Ruddock said.

Terrorism, even weapons of mass destruction, are a threat facing every corner of the globe.

And that includes sleepy Hobart in Tasmania, it seems.

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