Airline passengers making false bomb threats could be jailed for up to three years or fined NT$1 million (US$33,500), the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.
Statistics from the CAA showed that there were eight cases last year in which plane passengers falsely reported explosives aboard a flight or in their luggage. The heaviest sentence issued so far has been a 10-month prison term.
According to the CAA, the case happened in February last year when a passenger posted bomb-shaped stickers on the windows of the airport lounge in Taipei International Airport (Songshan).
The biggest fine issued was NT$50,000, in which an EVA Airways passenger lied to ground crew saying that he was carrying bombs in his luggage.
Meanwhile, four such cases happened this year. The most serious one occurred last month, when a passenger tried spreading false information about the safety of China Airlines by repeatedly calling the airline’s customer service hotline. Dissatisfied with the expensive tickets that the airline had offered, the passenger claimed that a bomb had been placed on one of the airline’s flights to Jarkata.
Article 150 of the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) states that any person making a false report of a threat to aviation safety or aviation facilities, or disseminating false information that jeopardizes flight safety, should be subject to imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to NT$1 million.
CAA Director-General Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said passengers should think twice before making such a hoax. Not only would they face civil or criminal responsibility, the act would delay the trip for other passengers as well, Yin added.