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Report: Korean Airports Have Major Security Loopholes

Posted September. 08, 2005 07:28,   


It was revealed yesterday that a slew of loopholes, including explosives being passed through metal detectors without any restraint, exist in security controls at domestic major international airports.

In particular, it was reported that Gimpo International Airport, which will be used as a major transfer airport between Incheon and Gimhae during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, had failed to thoroughly prepare for bombing threats and outside intrusion.

These contents were revealed in a report on internal security control operations in Incheon, Gimpo and Gimhae International Airports that ruling Uri Party lawmaker Cho Kyoung-tae, who belongs to the Construction and Transportation Committee of the National Assembly, obtained from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority under the Ministry of Construction and Transportation ahead of the APEC summit to be held this November in Busan.

According to this report, this May, an aviation security supervisor pretending to be an ordinary passenger with bombs strapped to his body and in his bag attempted to pass through a screening control for domestic flights, but was able to pass through security. Dynamite bombs disguised as mail, and portable knives, which are prohibited aboard planes, went undetected by security control as well. He was also able to move from the airport’s arrival area to its departure area via elevator without a hitch.

The report also showed that it was almost impossible for security to watch outside areas because there were not enough lighting at night for the CCTV monitoring posts that are supposed to keep watch over the outside approaches to the control tower.

On top of that, in a check of security at Gimhae International Airport conducted this April, a security supervisor carrying prohibited objects strapped to his ankle passed through an electric tester. In the departure area for domestic flights located on the second floor of the airport, he also showed a forged boarding pass, but was easily passed through security.

Incheon International Airport, which was checked early this year, showed relatively good performance in its internal security control, but this report pointed out that it could be vulnerable to an outside bombing attack because its oil pipes used for refueling facilities were close to its exterior fences.

Rep. Cho said, “Given that a total of about 10,000 foreigners are likely to come and go to and from Korea during the APEC summit, Korea needs to come up with tighter security measures.”

In-Jik Cho cij1999@donga.com