Man claims bomb in Australian hostage standoffHEADLINE

SYDNEY - September 5, 2011

Clerk Betty Hor said she was working at the reception desk of lawyers' offices adjoining the court complex, which houses family and criminal court rooms in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, when the man approached Tuesday morning and asked to see someone whom Hor had never heard of. The man was accompanied by a girl aged about 10 or 11, Hor said.

The man went upstairs briefly then returned to the reception desk and repeated his request. She repeated that she had never heard of the man he was looking for.

Hor said he then threw a book on the desk and told her to call the unknown man and the state attorney-general's department and "tell them I've got a bomb in my backpack."

Hor called police as the man walked upstairs to a lawyer's office with the girl, who called him "Dad."

Hor said he seemed frustrated and angry. She said she had never seen him before.

Police said in a statement that it was not known why the man entered the building, or what he was "in possession of."

Television footage showed the man looking from a second-floor window shirtless and wearing the same kind of wig as worn in Australian courts by judges and lawyers. Police maintained a cordon around the building. At one stage he spat on the wig.

Ambulance service spokeswoman Caroline Woods said several ambulances were waiting at the scene but would not say what was happening there.

A fire truck was also seen waiting near the building.

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