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Bangkok, Thailand — A bomb scanner sold to dozens of countries around the world has been shown to be useless at detecting explosives, the Thai government said, raising the possibility that thousands of lives have been lost to bomb attacks because of ineffective screenings.

The Thai government announced Tuesday that the GT200 failed rigorous tests carried out by scientists and the army in Thailand, after concerns were raised that the device was an elaborate hoax.

“We’ve done a double-blind test where the equipment was only successful in discovering in 20 percent of the cases, when just a random choice would give you 25 percent — so there’s no statistical significance to having the equipment,” Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told CNN.

The device’s manufacturer, Britain-based Global Technical, disputed the tests’ results.

Thailand has spent more than $20 million for about 700 of the devices, which are supposed to indicate the presence of explosives. Thailand also has paid for the manufacturer’s eight days of training for device operators.

After the test results, the Thai government said it was looking into the possibility of legal action against Global Technical.

The Thai army has been using GT200 for six years in the country’s troubled south, where insurgents have been waging a years-long secessionist movement, and where bomb attacks occur weekly.

The device also has been sold to Thailand’s forensic scientists, navy, air force, narcotics control board and police.

Global Technical said in an e-mail it was “surprised and disappointed by the reported outcome of tests carried out by the Thai government.”

Read more at CNN.com.

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