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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A false alarm forced the evacuation of the finance building Wednesday morning, officials said.

Military police and fire department officials evacuated the building and set up a 300-foot cordon around the area where a suspicious purse hung from an outside wall, near Building 2254’s double doors. It was first reported at about 9:30 a.m.

Military working dogs swept the area, but discovered no explosives, officials said. An explosive ordnance disposal team arrived on scene at about 11 a.m. and X-rayed the purse before declaring the scene safe at 11:40 a.m.

Garrison officials were not able to say whether the purse contained identification, whether an investigation is being conducted or whether the owner could face any penalties.

Area II spokesman Steve Davis said the evacuation impact was the loss of about two hours work time in the finance building and the inconvenience to people in the area. The base library, a shopping complex, the main post club and the bus terminal are located near the finance building. The cordon meant the sidewalk on that side of the street was closed and pedestrians were rerouted back toward the base exchange to cross the street.

He said the bus terminal, located across the parking lot from the finance building, also was closed. The buses were diverted to Seoul American High School, and later, to Collier Field House.

“We take all of these — even false alarms — seriously,” Davis said. “In the era we live in, it’s a security issue.”

He stressed that base residents should keep their items with them at all times. And if someone spots something they feel is suspicious, they should contact the military police.


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