Taiwan: Suspected Explosives Found Before Election
No detonators have been found so far in the packages, said Taipei city government spokesman Jack Yu, and bomb squads wearing heavily padded gear safely removed the items from where they were found at the crowded station's north and south entrances.
Hours earlier, a fire had destroyed a number of vehicles in a car park outside the station but caused no injuries.
"The four suspected explosives have been removed by the bomb squad, who have taken them to a remote area for inspection," Wang Chin-hai, a senior railway police official, told Reuters.
"One of the items was a container with gasoline inside."
Another railway policeman said the packages also included plastic bags and paper boxes.
TVBS cable television station said it had received a letter by courier saying four bombs had been placed at the Taipei railway station and at the world's tallest building, Taipei 101.
The television station said it reported the letter to the police, who conducted a search of Taipei 101's office tower -- which will open for business next year -- and its busy shopping mall but did not find any explosives.
The public relations division of Taipei 101 said police and company representatives had checked both the office tower and the shopping mall several times without finding anything, and searches were continuing.
The company said it decided not to close the crowded shopping mall because no bombs were found and it did not want to cause panic.
The security alert came as campaigning for Saturday's polls approaches fever pitch, with President Chen Shui-bian's pro-independence party seeking to win control of parliament from an opposition that favors closer ties with China.
Until this year, election violence has been rare in Taiwan but in March, Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were slightly wounded in a mysterious shooting on the eve of the presidential vote as they campaigned in southern Taiwan.
TVBS said one of the boxes at the station had "anti-Taiwan independence" written on it, suggesting the incident was linked to the election. Police could not confirm the TVBS report.
Lee Chin-tien, chief of the Chungcheng District No. 1 police station, said there was no evidence of explosives in the carpark fire at midday and it was not clear if it was related to the bomb threats at the station and Taipei 101.
"What burned was gasoline and gas bottles. We are still investigating whether it occurred naturally or was set by a person, but I can say there were no explosives found," Lee said.