11 March 2014
SEVERAL airports in the region have begun tightening their security procedures after two passengers were discovered to have used stolen passports to board a missing Malaysia Airlinesflight, raising questions about the level of security at busy airports.
Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines are reviewing their procedures to weed out fake passports while China and Indonesia said their systems were already secure.
Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority did not respond by press time to queries on whether they have ordered stricter checks at Changi Airport.
Although there is no link yet between the imposters and the disappearance of the Beijing-bound jetliner MH 370 on Saturday, news of their presence on board have set off alarm bells.
Interpol said in a statement that its database has records of more than 40 million missing travel documents, but complained that few countries use it as a matter of course.
Neither Malaysia nor any other country had checked the two stolen passports against the Interpoldatabase.
… Professor Joseph Liow, who is with Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said it was unclear if all airlines had access to the Interpol database.
“It appears that the information is available but the question is access. It’s not clear if it’s easily accessible to the airlines as well as national agencies of the various countries,” he said.
RSIS / Print
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