Leak dries up Taiwan's first 'flash' flood

Taipei - Taiwanese efforts to launch the flash-mob phenomenon were thwarted when details of the surprise gathering were leaked.

A Taiwanese flash-mob website mobilised its members to gather outside the Kuang San Sogo department store in Taichung, central Taiwan, on Wednesday to shout "Mars is coming!" three times before dispersing.

But the action outside the 18-storey Kuang San Sogo - the largest store in Taichung - was cancelled because the plan was leaked.

"We were tipped off that flash mobsters would come to make trouble so we stepped up security at our entrance," a Kuang San Sogo spokesperson said.

Mars was at its closest to Earth in 60 000 years on Wednesday.

The flash-mob movement began in the US on June 17 when a man who called himself Bill organised the first flash mob at a Macy's department store.

Since then, the phenomenon - which involves people suddenly showing up at a public place, making meaningless gestures or statements, then dispersing - has taken place in Europe, Brazil and Hong Kong.

On Friday about 50 people barged into a McDonald's outlet in Hong Kong and performed a ballet dance before vanishing. - Sapa-DPA

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