Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Taoyuan airport stepping up security

LONGER LINES:Passengers on international flights should plan to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport earlier than usual to allow more time for security checks

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Passengers on international flights should expect longer lines at the safety inspection and immigration checkpoints at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after authorities heightened security levels following a report of a potential terrorist attack at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Aviation Police Bureau confirmed on Monday that they received a tip last week from a person claiming to be part of a French counterterrorism group that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement had planned an attack at the Beijing airport similar to the one that occurred at the Kunming Railway Station earlier this month.

Taoyuan International Airport Corp said the National Immigration Agency has connected its system to a counterterrorism database in the US.

The identification of any suspicious individual would be fully checked before the agency would allow them to enter the country, officials said. The airlines will not issue boarding passes to such individuals until they receive a confirmation from the agency.

Airport authorities say they will also increase security and inspection of Beijing-bound flights, particularly with regards to check-in luggage and aircraft cabins.

The Aviation Police will increase patrols inside and outside the terminals and may ask passengers to present valid identification or travel documents.

In view of the heightened security efforts, passengers are advised to arrive early at the airport for check-in and security checks.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense has deployed a plane to the South China Sea for the second straight day to help in the international search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on Saturday last week.

A C-130 transport plane left early yesterday after a search of areas southwest of the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) on Monday failed to detect any trace of the missing plane, the ministry said.

The military will keep in touch with the Malaysian authorities to decide on further action, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said.

The government has no plans to contact China over the search because the international search efforts are mostly being coordinated by Malaysia, Lo said.

Twelve nations, including Taiwan, are taking part in the efforts to find the plane, the ministry said.

Taiwan has also dispatched a Chengkung-class navy frigate and two Coast Guard Administration vessels to waters between Malaysia and Vietnam to help in the search efforts. The ships are expected to reach the area on Friday.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Malaysia Airlines flight, which was carrying 227 passengers — including Chuang Shiu-ling (莊秀玲) from Taiwan — and a 12-person crew, early on Saturday morning.

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