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S. Korea to tighten airport security

All Headlines 10:30 March 10, 2016

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will push forward measures to beef up security at the country's major airports in the wake of serious breaches that have raised questions about the operational safeguards in place at these critical facilities, the government said Thursday.

Security and anti-terrorism measures at international airports across the country will be tightened significantly to prevent any illegal entry into the country, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

In recent months, Incheon International Airport, the country's main gateway, has been affected by a slew of high-profile security problems that sounded alarm bells.

In January, two Chinese nationals sneaked into the country without being noticed by immigration officials or picked up by the airport's security systems. Later in the same month, a Vietnamese transfer passenger forced his way through the gate of an unmanned automatic immigration checkpoint without being noticed.

All the people that entered South Korea illegally were later arrested in the country and though none were found to have links with known terrorist organizations, the government took notice and moved to correct the problem, an official source said.

Under the new plan, doors of immigration checkpoints will be closed completely after operational hours and will be monitored around-the-clock by a newly-launched team of security and immigration personnel, the ministry said.

The team, composed of six immigration officials and 36 security personnel, will be assigned at immigration or transfer checkpoints, the ministry said.

The ministry said it will also strengthen cooperation with the Ministry of Justice to share information on potentially high-risk passengers.

The government, in addition, plans to fully adopt a system of pre-screening passengers to keep potential terrorists from entering the country starting September 2016.

Under this system, the government will analyze passenger information before airlines issue boarding passes to restrict potential terrorists and other dangerous passengers from flying into country.

khj@yna.co.kr
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