Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Hijackings worldwide mostly political: seminar

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

At an aviation security seminar yesterday, experts said that politically motivated hijackings accounted for two-thirds of all hijackings worldwide in the past two decades.

Paul Stephen Dempsey, a professor at the Institute of Air & Space Law at Mcgill University in Canada, said the earliest political incidents involved refugees seeking asylum abroad.

A series of hijackings during the early 1970s saw hijackers take passengers as hostages and demand ransom, he said.

Dempsey said, however, that the hijackings of the late 1970s and the first half of the 1980s were often politically motivated.

Dempsey cited the Sept. 11 attacks on the US as another example, in which four planes were hijacked. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks, he said.

Dempsey presented a map showing hijacked airliners had flown over some of the most heavily armed military and air force bases in the US.

To better counter the risk of hijackings by terrorists, Dempsey said a layered security system was needed.

"Calculating the odds of breaching a multi-tiered system of defense is far more difficult than calculating the odds of defeating a single, perimeter protection," he said.

The presentation was made at the Aviation Security Seminar in Taipei, which ends today.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said on Tuesday that officials from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had arrived in Taipei to brief domestic airlines about new aviation regulations in the US for carrying toys with remote controls.

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Billy Chang (張國政) said that TSA officials suggested passengers either keep such toys in check-in luggage or remove the batteries from them.

"They [TSA officials] got intelligence showing that terrorists might utilize these devices to attack civil aviation aircrafts. These toys may therefore be scrutinized at the security check," he said.

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