Tue, May 03, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan’s security on alert after death

Staff Writer, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been informed of the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and government agencies will deal with the consequences of this development, the Presidential Office said in a statement yesterday.

All security-related government agencies will closely monitor related developments and respond to any security concerns, it said.

The National Immigration Agency said it had asked its 28 overseas offices to step up the collection and exchange of anti-terrorism information and share it with related government agencies.

In addition, the agency will pass on information to other countries if individuals considered to be “suspicious” make transit stops in Taiwan, the agency said.

The move followed a heightened alert worldwide to the possibility of terrorist attacks to avenge bin Laden’s death.

The agency said immigration checks of arriving passengers at airports would be as strict as in the past, but even more important would be to “stop terrorism outside the country’s borders.”

Agency officials said the most common problems faced by anti-terrorism security checks were suspects carrying multiple passports and agents having out-of-date photographs of potential suspects that are hard to match against those in travelers’ documents.

In such cases, the agency would have to rely on information collected overseas, the agency said.

The number of US-bound passengers who are subject to -additional pre-flight security screening has also been doubled, an aviation security official said.

The random check ratio was doubled to 6 percent of passengers, the Aviation Police Office’s Security Inspection Brigade said.

Also reacting to reports of bin Laden’s death, the American Institute in Taiwan relayed a message from the US Department of State warning US citizens traveling and residing abroad about the increased potential for anti-US violence.

Overseas Americans are urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels, and to avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations.

The office did not provide any information about its security measures or whether its visa screening process would be tightened.

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