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Baggage check on a V Australia flight from Phuket airport

Phuket Checks May Grow in Aussie Terror Watch

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A TERROR WATCH on flights to Australia from Phuket could grow more intense as screening of passengers becomes a higher priority for countries considered targets for extremists.

Passengers boarding regular Jetstar and V Australia flights to Australia from Phuket are already scrutinised by Australian authorities on the lookout for abnormal behavior. At least one security official observes passengers as they arrive at check-in on Phuket to deposit their baggage.

As with Phuket, Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok is considered a high-risk ''last port of call airport'' gateway to Australia, according to aviation officials.

Australia has now dispatched two transport security experts to Thailand to make Bangkok airport safer from terrorist attacks on Australians, media reports say today.

'The Australian' newspaper also reports that Bangkok-based Australian diplomats are considered at high risk from terrorist attacks and are to be moved to a new secure site.

Australia has one of the largest embassies in Bangkok, yet in spite of the rapid growth in numbers of Australians visiting Phuket, it is still only represented by an honorary consul on the island.

According to 'The Australian,' investigations by Australian experts identified Bangkok as a weak link in the Asia-Pacific anti-terrorism security chain.

Particular risks were raised about the possibility of ''shoe bombers'' boarding flights to Australia via Bangkok, a senior government official told the national newspaper.

"In terms of process, procedure and equipment, they (Thai security procedures) may well be up to world's best practice," said Michael Carmody, the former head of aviation security at the Federal Airports Corporation.

"However, it is in practice that things tend to come unstuck because, invariably, these airports employ folks on very low wages with minimal skills expected to work on 10-hour shifts for five bucks an hour - and that's where it all comes unstuck."

Australia has become notable for its tight approach to security, which has been heightened since the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005. The first attack killed 201 people, most of them tourists, including 88 Australians.

The bombings are reckoned to be the cause for travel alerts from Australian officials often being more sweeping and intense than from most other nations.

Concern about cargo from the Middle East has also grown after the recent discovery of implanted devices.
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Comments

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Funny thing, as we fly home around Christmas this year, I am also concerned about the safety of my plane, as I know of the security failings of Phuket airport. Hopefully no package with toner will be allowed on my plane, as an attack against my home country is long due.

Posted by Lena on November 10, 2010 14:31

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what a joke? so india or indonesia or malaysia or vietnam should be more safe then phuket or bangkok?

Posted by mike on November 10, 2010 16:50

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Hey, Mr Morison

Where's this news come from or just an rumor...there's no source on your report. Or that just your imagination

Sean

Posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2010 22:49

Editor Comment:

Woodward, Bernstein, Morison. Not bad company.

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btw: Got home safely. Because of a last minute change to a bigger hand luggage case, I accidentally left a big scissor in that suitcase. But maybe thanks to a bottle of water, that was confiscated, the scissor got through. I was a little shocked finding it when I emptied everything at home...

Posted by Lena on January 4, 2011 02:17


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