Overseas cyber hack likely responsible for hoax shooting calls to Redlands schools: police

HELP NEEDED: Those with information can contact Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
HELP NEEDED: Those with information can contact Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

POLICE are trying to find out if hoax firearm calls made to two Redlands schools were made from an overseas cyber hack.

Cleveland District and Alexandra Hills state high schools were put into lock-down on Monday after threatening calls were received, with the precaution also taken at the nearby Alexandra Hills TAFE campus.

Wynnum Child Protection Investigation Unit Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Adam Pascoe said police had not ruled out locals as responsible, but suspected someone overseas might have made the calls.

Last year, an 18-year-old Israeli man was arrested for making 2000 bomb and shooting hoax robocalls, including 591 to Australia in early 2016.

A Victorian teenager also faced court for making bomb threats to schools in Victoria, NSW and South Australia between May 2016 and April 2017.

Acting Senior Sergeant Pascoe said calls made online using Voice over Internet Protocol could be hard to trace because IP addresses could be changed.

He urged anyone who might know the person responsible to contact police. Students or parents could also contact the schools.

“If you want to remain anonymous, at least get onto schools if you think you know who did it,” he said.

Acting Senior Sergeant Pascoe said the two schools received multiple calls from different numbers on Monday.

The calls began as nuisance calls but escalated to include firearm threats, prompting both schools and the nearby Alexandra Hills TAFE campus to go into lock-down.

No other schools in the greater Brisbane region were impacted, Acting Senior Sergeant Pascoe.

He said the schools had acted appropriately, saying all threats needed to be treated seriously until police had confirmed their legitimacy.

“Both schools did a really good job,” he said.

“Their teams made judgement calls. It was seen as a threat.

“Schools have to follow protocols even if they think it is not legitimate.”

Cleveland and Ormiston state schools received automated calls making bomb threats in early 2016, prompting evacuations.

Other schools across Australia had also been targeted in the 2016 hoax calls.

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