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Billa bomb blackmail

Trnava

Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs discovered 800 grams of TNT stashed in a box of washing powder in the Billa department store. The presence of the bomb, which was capable of being activated by remote control, had been revealed by an anonymous telephone call to the store's director on July 16.

The caller demanded that Billa, an Austrian department store chain, pay him 10 million Slovak crowns ($230,000). If the money was not produced, the caller said, at least two other Billa stores in Slovakia would be bombed.

Over 30 sniffer dogs were employed to search Billa stores in Košice, Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Lučenec, but no other explosives were found. Police say that if the blackmailer is caught, he or she may face 8 to 15 years in prison.

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