[IWAR] JAPAN Tokyo subway teargas

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Dec 18 1997 - 09:19:57 PST

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          60 people taken to hospital after tear gas sprayed inside Tokyo train
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       TOKYO (December 17, 1997 11:54 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -- At
       least 60 passengers on a packed commuter train were taken to hospitals
       with eye and throat pain Thursday morning after a group of alleged
       pickpockets sprayed tear gas to escape from undercover police, police
       The five pickpockets, some of whom wielded knives, escaped, the Tokyo
       Metropolitan Police Department said.
       None of the injuries were serious, but passengers panicked as the scene
       quickly reminded them of the nightmare 1995 gassing on the Tokyo subway
       by the Aum Shinri Kyo doomsday cult, in which 12 died and thousands were
       Two plain-clothes investigators happened to be in the train car where
       the incident took place as part of daily anti-pickpocket surveillance, a
       police spokesman said.
       When they rushed to the other end of the car after hearing a commotion,
       one of the alleged thieves sprayed tear gas while the group ran away
       after the train entered Ikebukuro Station, the spokesman said, on
       condition of anonymity.
       One of the policeman, who was hit directly in the face by the spray, was
       among those taken to a nearby hospital, he said.
       "I heard someone yelling, then there was some struggle," passenger
       Shinya Morisaki was quoted by TBS television news as saying. "A moment
       later I smelled a stinking fume spreading inside the subway car."
       Gangs of pickpockets, many believed to be South Korean, have been active
       in recent years on train lines in the same area of north-central Tokyo.

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