Man booked for making hoax calls to U.S. 911

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- A 20-year-old South Korean man has been booked without physical detention for allegedly making crank calls to U.S. emergency call centers threatening to carry out a shooting rampage, police here said Monday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said the man, identified only by his surname Lee, is accused of calling the Warren County Communications Center from his home in Jeonju, about 240 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 26 last year, claiming that armed with a gun, he was hiding in the woods near Hackettstown High School to shoot students dead.

The prank call reportedly sent the entire town into a frenzy, forcing the shutdown of eight nearby schools and prompting a four-hour manhunt involving SWAT teams, counterterrorism authorities and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials.

Lee also prank called the New York Police Department on April 3 last year, threatening to kill officers and their families after claiming to have killed his own 10-year-old son, the police said.

The Jeonju native is believed to have begun prank calling U.S. emergency call centers after obtaining a free phone application on his smartphone while learning English from an American student online.

Police officers said they had caught Lee, who is now in the military service, after receiving an intelligence report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the prank calls were traced to South Korea.

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