Ma reassures on post-bin Laden security

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Wed, May 04, 2011 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has instructed various agencies to closely monitor the international situation following the death of Osama bin Laden, but said the public should not worry because the government was fully prepared to protect the nation, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said yesterday.

The US said a commando team had killed the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan early on Monday.

The level of anti-terrorism security checks at airports and seaports and in expatriate communities has been raised in response to the news, Lo quoted Ma as saying.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration yesterday said it would tighten security for flights heading to the US.

Air Transportation Division director Chu Kuan-wen (朱冠文) said the percentage of second inspections at boarding gates was raised from 3 percent to 6 percent on Monday afternoon after news of bin Laden’s death was released.

However, the Aviation Police Bureau said US-bound passengers did not need to show up at the airport earlier than the standard two-hour timeframe for international flights.

“A three-hour requirement was applied when all passengers to the US were required to have a second inspection at the boarding gate,” said Ou Shuei-kai (歐學凱), secretary to the bureau’s director. “We have yet to have solid information on terrorist activity [here] and simply raised the percentage to 6 percent.”

“For a US-bound flight with 300 passengers on board, [this means] only 18 will be inspected,” Ou said.

Ou said passengers undergoing a secondary inspection would have their carry-on luggage checked individually and they would be checked by a metal detector and asked to take off their shoes for inspection.