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Friday, August 05, 2011

Want to read a book?

Does these articles make you want to go get the book to read it?

This news article appeared in today's (Fri, 2011 Aug 05) and yesterday's (Thu, 2011 Aug 04) Australian Newspapers, 'The Australian' and 'The Courier Mail'.

About the book?
Dirk Struan is the central character in James Clavell's novel Tai-Pan. The intruder appears to identify himself with the protagonist from Clavell's 1966 novel, which is set following the British seizure of Hong Kong in 1842 and is the second novel, after Shogun, in the author's Asian saga series. So it's...

James Clavell's Asian Saga Series:
1) Shogun ~ by James Clavell
2) Tai-Pan ~  by James Clavell
3) ... anymore?


5 Aug 2011
The Australian
Collar-bomb man plays it by book with cryptic note

POLICE were last night hunting a masked intruder who clamped a collar bomb around a teenager's neck and left a series of cryptic clues related to a bestselling action novel secreted inside the suspected explosive device. The man broke into the multimillion-dollar home of William and Belinda Pulver and their four children in Mosman, on Sydney's north shore, and confronted their 18-year-old daughter, Madeleine, in the kitchen when she arrived home alone about 2.30pm on Wednesday. 

The balaclava-clad man fitted a replica explosive device to the teenager's neck with a chain and, before fleeing, pinned a note to her chest signed ''Dirk Struan'', the central character in James Clavell's novel Tai-Pan. The note reportedly made no demands for money but warned Madeleine, a Year 12 student at North Sydney's prestigious girls' school Wenona, not to call police or tamper with the shoebox-sized device or it would blow up. Some reports said the note also included instructions for police to contact the intruder using the internet. A computer memory stick containing a copy of the note was reportedly found inside the hoax bomb when it was finally removed from Madeleine's neck close to midnight on Wednesday. Police negotiators and officers from the bomb disposal unit spent 10 hours testing the device for explosive substances as a terrified Madeleine sat immobile. 

Police yesterday declared the device a hoax but the case captivated Sydney and made international headlines as people waited for a safe ending. Detective Superintendent Luke Moore, the commander of the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad, which has set up Strike Force Hadden to hunt the intruder, said the pressure on officers and the teenager during the long ordeal was ''enormous''. ''You are dealing with the high stakes, an innocent victim who . . . is put in a life-threatening position,'' he said. Police refused yesterday to reveal how the intruder broke into the luxury waterfront home on Burrawong Avenue or whether the house had security or CCTV cameras. 

With a large number of police examining the house and neighbourhood for clues, it was revealed that horse trainer Gai Waterhouse, who lives in the same street as the Pulvers, and her driver saw a woman ''driving up and down the street, looking nervous'' on Wednesday. Waterhouse has told police her driver saw a man run from the vicinity of the Pulver mansion and get into the car at about the time of the attack, before it fled the scene at ''significant speed'', reports today's Daily Telegraph. The intruder appears to identify himself with the protagonist from Clavell's 1966 novel, which is set following the British seizure of Hong Kong in 1842 and is the second novel, after Shogun, in the author's Asian saga series. 

Senior police officers, including Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, said they had never encountered a collar bomb or such an unusual extortion attempt in their long careers. Peter Stenning, a founding partner of risk insurance specialists Stenning Simpson, which has managed abduction payments for Australians overseas, said collar bombs were ''very rare''. ''In fact, I've never heard of it before in Australia,'' he said. ''We are dealing with this constantly overseas, specifically in Colombia. There's an organisation called FARC in Colombia. And we refer to their extortion attempts as another FARC necklace.'' 

Most theories on the bizarre set-up speculated on money being the motive, with Mr Pulver a highpaid director with Appen Butler Hill, an international linguistics solutions company. Others suggested Madeleine and her teenage friends were involved in a ''prank''. But Superintendent Moore was quick to assert that ''Madeleine is the victim of this offence''. ''I can confirm for you that there was a letter attached to this device, a note attached to this device that did make certain demands,'' he said. ''We are treating this as an attempted extortion, a very serious attempted extortion. That letter obviously gives us some lines of inquiry that we are following but I can't go any further into what it contains unfortunately.'' Mr and Mrs Pulver yesterday met the media on the advice of NSW Police to appeal for witnesses and information. 

Mr Pulver read from a prepared statement and declined to take questions. ''We particularly want to thank all of the people last night who did an extraordinary job helping our beautiful daughter,'' he said. ''Maddie particularly wanted to thank those few officers who spent many long hours sitting with her, showing little regard for their own personal safety in her immediate vicinity last night. They were an incredible comfort during an horrific ordeal.'' Detectives from Strike Force Hadden will formally interview Madeleine in the coming days. 

The family will stay at a Sydney hotel as their house is combed for evidence by officers from the Forensic Services Group. ''She has woken up this morning in pretty good spirits,'' Mr Pulver said. ''She is a little tired, a little sore from holding this damned device for about 10 hours, but she is just now eager to get on with her life.'' Her school, Wenona, yesterday cancelled trial HSC exams and said it had offered counselling to students. ''The school community is united behind the student and her family, and we thank God she is not hurt,'' it said.

4 Aug 2011
The Courier Mail
by Mark Morri, Clementine Cuneo and Nathan Klein
Millionaire's daughter targeted in elaborate extortion attempt

POLICE were last night attempting to defuse a ''collar bomb'' strapped to the teenage daughter of one of the nation's wealthiest men. In an attack unprecedented in Australia and apparently linked to an extortion attempt, Madeleine Pulver (pictured), 18, was home studying when police allege someone broke into her family's Sydney home and strapped the bomb to her. POLICE and bomb squad experts were last night attempting to defuse a live ''collar bomb'' strapped to the teenage daughter of one of Sydney's wealthiest men in what appeared to be a sophisticated extortion attempt.

Madeleine Pulver, who celebrated her 18th birthday last month, was home studying for her HSC trial exams when police believe someone broke into her family's waterfront home and strapped the bomb to her. Police were called to the multimillion-dollar Mosman mansion by William Pulver after he received a frantic call from his daughter. Officers arrived at 2.30pm and experts from the NSW Bomb Squad were last night still inside the Mosman home examining the device. 

Ms Pulver was petrified when police arrived and found a ''unusual collar bomb'' device around her neck with a note attached demanding money from her multi-millionaire father. Nearby houses were immediately evacuated and the street was closed off.

Police confirmed that the incident was linked to an extortion attempt on the girl's international businessman father. ''We were told there is a letter but until we can get closer to the girl and everything is safe, we don't have details,'' an officer said. It appears that shortly after 2pm, a balaclava-wearing man broke into the Burrawong Ave home and took the teenage girl hostage. 

He ordered her to a room towards the front of the house, where he directed her to sit down while he strapped a ''collar bomb'' her neck. While he was rigging up the explosive device, the man allegedly ordered a terrified Madeleine to be limited in what she told police afterwards, or else he would remotely detonate the bomb. The girl was told she could ring police to alert them to her terror, but she must not give too much detail about the masked man or their conversation, or else she knew the deal. Before leaving, the unknown man told the petrified girl he would be able to hear her and what she told police, indicating he had planted listening devices within the house. With the bomb secured to the girl, the man left the house.

An X-ray of the bomb was taken last night to help identify what type of device police were dealing with before any attempt at defusing the device was made. Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch described the situation as a ''very serious and sensitive matter''. When asked whether the girl could move away from the bomb, Mr Murdoch said: '' No, she can't get away from it.''

Madeleine is in her final year at the prestigious Wenona School and managed to contact her father, who then alerted police. By 3pm yesterday, exclusive Burrawong Ave was in lockdown as police and bomb squad experts packed in to try to defuse the device attached to the terrified young girl. Her father and mother Belinda stood panic-stricken outside their home, her father visibly upset as he spoke with senior officers. Mr Pulver was later allowed inside the property to help keep his daughter calm as the experts continued their examination. The girl was reported to be in the loungeroom, being supported by police who were constantly reassuring her everything would be all right.

Police said Madeleine was ''understandably very distraught''. Police described the scenario as one never before experienced in Australia. ''This type of extortion, this type of bomb, we have never seen before,'' a senior NSW police officer said. ''There have been instances where similar-type bombs have been worn during attempted bank robberies in America but not here.'' Anxious residents who crowded into the street watching the emergency unfolding said the Pulvers were a wellknown and liked family.

''You've got to wonder what would motivate someone to do this,'' Peter Cassa said. '' They are a generous and inviting family . . . they must be going through hell right now.'' POLICE and bomb squad experts were last night attempting to defuse a live ''collar bomb'' strapped to the teenage daughter of one of Sydney's wealthiest men in what appeared to be a sophisticated extortion attempt.


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