People falsely reporting bomb threats in any of the nation’s airports or on aircraft face up to three years in prison and a NT$1 million fine (US$30,922), the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.
The administration said it wanted to remind the public of the consequences of irresponsible acts following an incident on Friday last week in which a passenger on an Air China flight to Bejing told a flight attendant there was a bomb in his bag.
Passengers on the flight were made to disembark and undergo another security inspection, the administration said, adding that the airplane underwent another inspection because of the mention of explosives onboard.
The flight was delayed for approximately five-and-a-half hours because of the false bomb threat, it said.
The passenger who allegedly made the false report faces an investigation by the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office and was released on bail of NT$100,000 and barred from overseas travel.
Article 105 of the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) states that any person making a false report to a government official or the staff of a civil air transport enterprise alleging a threat to aviation safety or aviation facilities without identifying an offender, or disseminating false information that jeopardizes flight safety, shall be subject to imprisonment of up to three years, detention, or a fine of up to NT$1 million.
CAA Deputy Director-General Fang Chih-wen (方志文) cited statistics from the Aviation Police Bureau that showed 23 allegations of threats involving bombs or explosives targeting aviation services since 2012.
Final verdicts have been issued in six of the cases, with punishments for people making false reports ranging from five months in jail to NT$100,000, the statistics showed.
In one of the cases, in February 2014, a person was sentenced to 59 days in detention for saying that a piece of luggage was not a bomb.
Court records said the person was afraid of missing their flight because a security inspection was taking too long.
In another case, a person was fined NT$80,000 after telling a check-in clerk that a piece of luggage had a bomb inside it.
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