Pas­sen­ger car­ries knives onto HK-Ja­pan flight

China Daily - - CHINA - By CHEN ZIMO in Hong Kong mol­ly­[email protected]­nadai­

Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port failed to de­tect six knives in a pas­sen­ger’s hand lug­gage dur­ing a re­cent rou­tine se­cu­rity check, let­ting the blades on board a flight to Ja­pan, where they were found, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong air­port con­firmed that the in­ci­dent hap­pened on Jan 2. An in­spec­tion of­fi­cer failed to carry out proper pro­ce­dures, and the se­cu­rity com­pany has taken dis­ci­plinary ac­tion, the spokesman said.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia, the pas­sen­ger flew to Ja­pan with six ser­rated knives in his carry-on lug­gage. The knives were Swiss brand cleavers, with a to­tal length of 28 cen­time­ters. The blades were nearly 12 cm with wavy and sharp edges.

The re­port pointed out that those knives would eas­ily be seen on the X-ray de­tec­tor screen, but the se­cu­rity of­fi­cer failed to spot them and al­lowed the pas­sen­ger to en­ter the air­port’s re­stricted area, and ul­ti­mately to carry the knives on board.

The knives were found dur­ing a se­cu­rity check at a Ja­panese air­port when the pas­sen­ger was trans­fer­ring to an­other des­ti­na­tion. The Ja­panese air­port then re­ported the in­ci­dent to the air­line, which re­layed the mes­sage to the se­cu­rity com­pany at the Hong Kong air­port.

The com­pany, Avi­a­tion Se­cu­rity Co (Avseco), is a non­profit pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tion jointly owned by the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and the Hong Kong Air­port Au­thor­ity — the statu­tory body re­spon­si­ble for the op­er­a­tions of the air­port.

After re­ceiv­ing the no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the se­cu­rity com­pany said it sus­pended the screen­ing of­fi­cer from duty. The of­fi­cer will be of­fered train­ing, an Avseco spokesman said.

The com­pany has con­ducted a re­view of the in­ci­dent to pre­vent sim­i­lar in­ci­dents from hap­pen­ing, the spokesman added.

The names of the air­line and the Ja­panese air­port were not dis­closed.

Gary Chan Hak-kan, chair­man of the Hong Kong Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil’s Panel on Se­cu­rity, called the in­ci­dent “se­ri­ous se­cu­rity neg­li­gence”, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia re­port. Pas­sen­gers car­ry­ing sharp tools on a plane may lead to trou­ble, Chan said, adding that he will is­sue a let­ter to the Air­port Au­thor­ity in the name of the Panel on Se­cu­rity to re­quire in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the in­ci­dent.

An­other mem­ber of the LegCo Panel on Se­cu­rity, El­iz­a­beth Quat Pui-fan, said the in­ci­dent was un­ac­cept­able. “It’s hard to imag­ine what would hap­pen if ter­ror­ists took ad­van­tage of such a loop­hole,” she said.

Quat urged the air­port and the se­cu­rity com­pany to thor­oughly re­view se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures. She said the panel will also con­tinue to dis­cuss other pos­si­ble steps with the gov­ern­ment.

The air­port should in­tro­duce new tech­nol­ogy to de­tect pro­hib­ited items, rather than re­ly­ing on man­power, Quat added.

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