Hoax bomb threat turns into bonus lunch break

  • 2006-03-29
  • From wire reports
RIGA - President Vaira Vike-Freiberga's office was evacuated on March 23 after an anonymous bomb threat. Shortly before 1 p.m., an unidentified person called the President's Office and said that a bomb had been planted on the premises.

Immediately after the call came through, the Riga Castle was evacuated for about one hour. Vike-Freiberga was not in her office at the time. The call was later revealed to be a hoax, made by a 15-year-old girl, the president later told public television.

According to Imants Kasparans, head of security for Parliament and the president's chancellery, said the anonymous caller said an explosive had been planted near the castle. "He would not be able to get inside the castle, as it is guarded," Kasparans explained. Security searched the castle and found no traces of a bomb. "Everything is over, everybody is back to work as usual," Kasparans said.

The Latvian History Museum and the Museum of Foreign Art, both which are located in the Riga Castle, were also shut down for a brief period due to the bomb scare. After being informed that nobody's life was in danger, presidential staff used the unplanned break to have lunch. A bomb hoax reportedly costs the state at minimum of 500 lats (711 euros).
In 2003, Latvian security services received information that a bomb had been planted in the Riga Castle. The next day police detained a man for making the false threat.