Australian police charge man after Brisbane Airport bomb hoax

CANBERRA (DPA) - A 50-year-old man was charged on Sunday (Feb 3) after he allegedly threatened a woman with a knife at Brisbane Airport and claimed he had a bomb, resulting in an emergency evacuation of the airport's international terminal.

Queensland police said the incident began at around 9pm local time on Saturday in the terminal's foodcourt, when the man allegedly pulled out a knife after an argument with a woman, reportedly a family member.

He then allegedly placed a metal object on a table, claiming it was a bomb, and began chasing the woman.

The incident ended when police shot the man with non-lethal beanbag rounds, after which he surrendered to officers.

Police published a photo of the fake bomb on Sunday, with Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart telling reporters it was an illustration of the "extraordinary lengths" the man had gone to "to create a perception of risk, threat and fear".

He also said police had an officer who could speak Arabic, the man's first language, at the scene "within minutes" and that this had a "major impact on the swiftness with which the matter could be resolved".

Despite the bomb threat, police said the matter was not terror-related, nor would they comment on whether the man was suffering from any mental illness.

But Queensland police assistant commissioner Peter Crawford said the man had suffered a "health issue" during the charging process and that the charges were laid during a "bedside process" in hospital.

He was charged with two counts each of staging a bomb hoax, making a false statement inferring a plan to damage or destroy an air navigation facility and common assault.

He also faces one count each of contravening a domestic violence order, stalking with a weapon, stealing and seriously assaulting police.

Mr Crawford also said police had checked several vehicles and residences on the Gold Coast for improvised explosive devices following statements made by the man.

The incident caused major disruption at Australia's third largest airport, which was shut for more than two hours.