≡ Menu

Japanese and Korean airport security?

Say what you will about LA Airport (I really hate flying through there) and its airport staff but at least they found this nutcase who somehow Japanese and Korean airport authorities missed.  This is just scary on all levels:

What alerted agents to check his suitcase?  It might have been the bullet-proof vest or the flame-retardant pants that he was wearing under his trench coat.

According to ICE, a search of his checked bag turned up the smoke grenade as well as “three leather-coated billy clubs, a collapsible baton, a full-face respirator, various knives, a hatchet, body bags, a biohazard suit, handcuffs, leg irons, and a device to repel dogs.”

Wonder what the excuses are going to be?

UPDATE

It appears that he was checked in Incheon but still managed to slip through.  According to the AP (Via Lubbock Online):

South Korean security officials screened a man with a bulletproof vest before he got on a flight to Los Angeles, but they never detected a banned smoke grenade in his checked luggage with a cache of knives, handcuffs, a gas mask and other weapons, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

It goes on to state that the U.S. could take strong measures against Incheon Airport such as banning flights from that airport but most likely won’t because it was just a slip up.

“This clearly looks like an error. Something slipped through that should not have slipped through,” Blank said of the grenade.

Many of the other belongings authorities say they found in Harris’ luggage — including the hatchet and knives — wouldn’t violate TSA guidelines for property in checked luggage. Also, bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants like the ones Harris was wearing aren’t listed among prohibited items aboard flights.

I liked these two paragraphs:

An intrusive pat-down by security or the discovery of a too-big bottle of tanning lotion can leave a passenger feeling violated, while Harris, outfitted in a bulletproof vest, flame-retardant pants and knee pads underneath a trenchcoat, with an arsenal in his luggage, appears to have triggered no suspicion before arriving in Los Angeles.

“The one thing that concerns me is he was able to board a plane internationally with all these weapons and whatnot, and nobody in Japan, nobody in Korea, bothered to find these things until he got to America,” said Gadisa Goso, 29, a school administrator and neighbor of Harris’ mother in Boston. “That’s a big concern for, like, for the U.S.”

Needless to say, Harris is not cooperating with the authorities and will not explain what he was doing with all the material.  He recently started working in Japan – wonder what his occupation was?

  • Yu Bum Suk

    When I took a group of Korean students to Canada Gimhae security let one of my students take her box-cutter / pencil sharpener on board in her pencil case. Narita security caught it during our transfer. I’m glad they did, because they’re probably also used to kids having them as pencil sharpeners; if she still had it when they reboarded at Vancouver it could have been a bigger mess.

  • Q

    MasterCard’s Global Top 20 Destination Cities by International Visitors (2012) chart does not show any cities of Japan, whilst Seoul ranked #11:

    http://c15210660.r60.cf2.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/MasterCard_Global_Destination_Cities_Index_2012.pdf

    Anyway, I hope all airports practice tighter security check for all levels of danger that should include radioactivity test that could be a source of bio-terrorism.

  • jkitchstk

    “Wonder what the excuses are going to be?”

    The plan wasn’t for him to stop in Korea so it didn’t happen and more importantly it’s not news worthy, there won’t be any excuse given.

  • Q
  • http://www.busanhaps.com Bobby McGill

    Robert Neff. I just want to say, you are a blogging machine! Go boy!

    Glad the LA folks nabbed the nutcase. He ended up where he will feel right at home.

  • Creo69

    Excuse? Standard issue…”they work really, really, long days and that is why they were sleeping on the job.”

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Incheon International Airport security was hyper-vigilant when they found a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup in my carry-on bag (don’t ask). It’s a “gel-type substance”, more than 100ml, and therefore had to be seized. Thanks, bin Laden!

  • Creo69

    “Incheon International Airport security was hyper-vigilant when they found a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup in my carry-on bag (don’t ask). It’s a “gel-type substance”, more than 100ml, and therefore had to be seized. Thanks, bin Laden!”

    Should have hid it beneath your BULLET PROOF VEST …. apparently such things are hard to spot on passengers these days.

  • gbnhj

    I was going through security at Sea-Tac this summer, and security found the five-pack of toothpaste I’d inadvertently put in my carry-on. My mistake, of course, but for some reason it was enough to get me pulled from line while it was tested. After the explosives- and narcotics-residue tests came up negative I was free to go. “What about my toothpaste?”

    “Sorry, that has to be confiscated. It’s prohibited.”

    Now I’m thinking ‘WTF?’ I mean, either it’s dangerous (in which case, don’t beat around the bush – arrest now, and hold on to the evidence) or it’s not (in which case, let the guy with an apparent hard-on for dental hygiene board the plane with the now-determined harmless substance).

    Seriously, if the tests come up negative, they should let you board the plane with it. Anyway, if I’m elected this November, I can tell you that this is one thing I’m going to get hammered out.

  • jkitchstk

    # 9,
    “Seriously, if the tests come up negative, they should let you board the plane with it.”

    If everyone knew they get to keep their stuff that they ain’t suppose to board with(after being tested), then guess what you’d complain about next?

  • DLBarch

    Oddly enough, apparently only the smoke grenade was illegal.

    Even more oddly, for all my own travels, I don’t have a single bad TSA/ICE/immigration/customs story to tell. It must be my charm!

    However, I do feel positively left out of all the commiserating!

    DLB

  • cm

    Unless they patted him down, I don’t think bullet proof vests and flame resistant pants worn under a trench coat would register on the machines anywhere.

    But I’d like to know how in the world was he able to carry on board knives and hatchets?

  • http://geoju.kr fanwarrior

    all you need is a baby. Just strap a baby to one of you and take whatever you want on the plane. If they question anything just say “It’s for the baby” all questions will stop, they’ll swab it and you get to keep it. Makes perfect sense.

  • jk641

    cm @12,

    The knives and hatchet were in his checked luggage, not his carry-on.

  • enomoseki

    Or he was just travelling to Detroit, Amerika.

  • tapadamornin

    Security is horrible no matter where you visit. On a recent trip to Seoul, I lost a bottle of contact cleaning fluid on the Japanese side, and then a bunch of stuff from my Dopp kit on the Korean side: nail clippers, scissors, etc. It was my fault for taking them as part of my carry-on luggage, but it was really irritating losing all of these things on the night before a business presentation (especially the contact fluid).

    The worst part of that trip was at Incheon when I was asked, “Are you American?” as I passed through security, followed by, “Then take off your shoes.” I’m still not sure what that was all about.

    Then there was the time at JFK in New York where the security people weren’t even looking at the x-ray monitor as bags passed through it, but I digress…

  • Wedge

    I’m with gbnhj: If they do the test and you pass, you keep the stuff. Americans have become sheep–we should not accept the security theater, not actual security, that Thousands Standing Around provides. Our ancestors would be ashamed at the indignities we submit ourselves to.

  • robert neff

    Strange as it may be – could some of this stuff have been props for kinky sex?

  • cm

    “..but they never detected a banned smoke grenade in his checked luggage with a cache of knives, handcuffs, a gas mask and other weapons, a U.S. official said Wednesday.”

    My question is are these items any danger to the passengers on board if the items are in the checked baggage compartment? I can see that the smoke grenade maybe a fire hazard so therefore problematic, but the other items, I see no reason for them to be problematic.

  • Maximus2008

    ““Are you American?” as I passed through security, followed by, “Then take off your shoes.” I’m still not sure what that was all about.”

    Really? I mean, in US they ask everyone to take their shoes off + other ridiculous stuff. So, being American, you get the same treatment. It’s called reciprocity. US security likes to play hard ball, so “poor US citizens” get the treatment – even though maybe not having anything to do with that – in some countries that like to pay back. I think it’s fair.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    I usually take a cute child with me who who super polite and keeps saying thank you to them and they let us both just walk straight through.

  • Q

    More update:

    Harris traveled from Kansai, in western Japan, to Incheon, Korea, before landing in Los Angeles.

    An immigration officer at Kansai International Airport, Masahiro Nakamoto, said authorities reported nothing suspicious at the time the man was believed to have boarded. Spokesman Keisuke Hamatani said Kansai security officials had not reported spotting any suitcases containing the hazardous materials allegedly found in Harris’ luggage.

    Nakamoto said arriving passengers are checked more closely than those leaving the country.

    Yasunori Oshima, an official at Japan’s Land and Transport Ministry’s aviation safety department, said there had been no official inquiry or request from U.S. authorities to look into the case, which he said would have been more of a concern if the hazardous materials were brought on board rather than checked.

    “The case does not seem to pose any immediate concerns about aviation security measures in Japan,” he said.

    Airport police said they do not believe the case constitutes illegal conduct under the Japanese domestic criminal code, but Japan may cooperate at the request of U.S. investigators.

    [Source: LINK]

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    Hmm…. Japan?

    so it seems that if your are a “departing passenger – (departing) Japan and place a BOMB into your “checked-in-luggage” which goes underneath the airplane – NO Problems – very lax security checks.

    They will only get you if you are an “arriving” passenger – trying to import the BOMB into Japan.

    Korea and China should not find out about this – a pissed off netizen may just decide to do something to a “departing from Japan” JAL flight.

  • dogbertt

    “Yongda Huang Harris”??

    Obviously a nutter.