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Philippines

Philippine police arrest 'pranksters' for bomb joke at papal mass

Trio could face five years in jail for 'making fun of' police officers

AFP, Manila

AFP, Manila

Updated: April 22, 2015 01:23 AM GMT
Philippine police arrest 'pranksters' for bomb joke at papal mass

Cabinet officials and Church officials bid farewell to Pope Francis before the pontiff departs the Philippines for Rome on Monday (Photo by Gil Nartea/Malacanang Photo Bureau)

Philippine police arrested three people for cracking jokes about a bomb while on their way to attend a Mass by Pope Francis in Manila, an official said Tuesday.

The man and two women were arrested at a police checkpoint on Sunday while heading to the Mass in Rizal Park which attracted a record six million people, said officer Alberto de Guzman of Manila police radio control office.

As they went through the checkpoint, witnesses heard one of the three saying "Hey, I've got a bomb. Why didn't you detect it?" de Guzman said.

His companions then joked about carrying guns, de Guzman said.

"They were making fun of the police officers. If people had heard them, it could have caused a stampede," he said.

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The three are being held under a law that penalizes "pranksters" who make false reports about bombs. The crime is punishable up to five years in jail or a fine of 40,000 pesos (US$894) or both.

Security was tight during the five-day visit of Pope Francis to the devoutly Catholic Philippines, with police and soldiers on alert to control the massive crowds.

The pope returned to the Vatican on Monday, with his trip hailed as a huge success. AFP

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