Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Passenger system aims to help prevent terror threat

UNIVERSIADE PREPARATIONS:Officials said that police officers nationwide would be on stand-by in case of a major disruption, while 5,000 would be on duty in Taipei

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A woman prepares items to be scanned at a security checkpoint at the Taipei Universiade Athletes’ Village in New Taipei City’s Linkou District on Friday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The government is to link its Advanced Passenger Information System to systems in the US, Japan and Southeast Asian nations, in a move designed to help prevent terrorists entering Taiwan, with the Taipei Universiade to start on Aug. 19, officials said yesterday.

The system compares passenger lists to customs data to prevent “99.9 percent of all suspect individuals” from entering the nation, officials said, adding that such people would be prevented from boarding flights bound for Taiwan from participating nations.

Although Taiwan is not a member of Interpol and unable to obtain first-hand anti-terrorism information, it has bilateral information sharing agreements with the US and Japan, officials said.

The US helped greatly to assemble a list of terror suspects, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said.

The system helped Taiwan identify a terror suspect from the United Arab Emirates as the suspect attempted to board a flight from Kaohsiung to Shanghai in 2014, officials said, adding that the suspect was repatriated to their home country.

Athletes, coaches and guests from nations participating in the Universiade are to clear customs as if they were on visa waiver programs, needing only to display their passport and invitation pass distributed by the Universiade organization team, officials said.

While only Taipei police and police from four other municipalities are to be “officially” on duty during the event, officials said that officers nationwide would be on stand-by.

The government expects protests during the games, as the Legislative Yuan is to hold its third extraordinary meeting by the end of the month, officials said.

On-duty officers would number 5,000, with 2,000 students from the Central Police University and 3,000 students from the Taiwan Police College called in to help.

In the event of large-scale protests or a terror attack, the nation has more than 70,000 police officers in reserve.

Separately, the Coast Guard Administration conducted a large-scale sweep aimed at preventing criminals from smuggling guns, drugs or explosives into Taiwan, Coast Guard 7th Offshore Flotilla Deputy Chief Cheng Wen-hao (鄭文豪) said.

Meanwhile, Ko yesterday afternoon announced a trial run of systems that would be used during the games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

Taipei residents should be aware that several Universiade events would require roads to be closed, Ko said, adding that the city would announce closures in advance.

The Universiade is to be the largest-ever multi-sport event hosted by Taiwan, bringing 11,397 representatives from 131 nations, including 7,639 athletes, the Sports Administration said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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