Boston: A Harvard University student appeared briefly in federal court today, accused of making a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of four campus buildings so he could get out of a final exam.
Eldo Kim, 20, did not enter a plea and was due to return to court later in the day so prosecutors can argue that he should be held at least until a detention hearing. They also said, however, that they are discussing alternatives with his attorneys.
Kim, wearing a gray T-shirt and sweatpants, appeared somber as he stood before the judge. Bermjoon Kim, who works at the Korean consulate in Boston, attended the hearing but said the FBI told him Kim is a US citizen. The consulate is trying to determine whether he has dual citizenship, in which case it would facilitate communication with any relatives in Korea.
The US attorney`s office in Boston alleges Kim sent hoax emails Monday saying shrapnel bombs would go off soon in two of four buildings on Harvard`s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. The emails came minutes before he was to take a final exam in one of the buildings.
The buildings were shut down for hours before investigators determined there were no explosives. Harvard said it was saddened by the allegations but would have no further comment on the investigation.
Alexander Ryjik, a junior from Alexandria, Virginia, was about to take his Politics of American Education final in Emerson Hall when alarms went off and he had to leave. He recognised Kim from the class but did not know him personally.
He said today he was not surprised to hear that authorities believe a student is responsible for the hoax. "Harvard is just like every other school, where students are just as stressed and caught up with their work," he said. "At Harvard especially, people are scared to fail or do poorly, even a B It just kind of reflects just how high-stress it is here. If it is true that a student sent a bomb threat to prevent himself from taking a final, I think it`s sad that somebody would have to go to that length."
Authorities said Kim told them he emailed the bomb threats about a half-hour before he was scheduled to take a final in Emerson Hall. He said he was there at 9 a.M. When he heard the alarm sound and knew his plan had worked, according to an FBI affidavit.