Hunter smuggles gun via Schiphol with ease
5 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein has said he will launch an investigation following television programme claims that weapons can be smuggled though Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
5 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein has said he will launch an investigation following television programme claims that weapons can be smuggled though Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Monday night's edition of 'Nova' showed how a Dutch hunter, Hans van Iersel, checked-in for and boarded a Transavia flight from Schiphol to Alicante in Spain on 16 March.
Fed up with the "bother" associated with applying for a permit to bring his gun to Spain, Van Iersel packed his double-barrelled hunting weapon in his checked luggage.
The gun was not detected by security officers and the programme suggested that smuggling weapons in this way was easy. The bullets Van Iersel was to use in hunting wild pigs and deer were packed separately from the gun.
MP Aleid Wolfsen of the Labour PvdA said in reaction that this incident was part of a series of security shortcomings at Schiphol.
He demanded ending the procedure in which private security firms are responsible for baggage checks, calling for the transfer of responsibility to the military police (Marechaussee) which has overall responsibility for Schiphol security.
In its response, the management of Schiphol did not deny that it might be possible to smuggle weapons in baggage.
Security at Schiphol and other airports was tightened in response to the 11 September terror attacks in the US and the Madrid train bombings in March 2004.
However, the automated scan through which baggage must pass at Amsterdam airport is only set to detect explosives. The scan does not pick up metal and therefore guns can slip through, 'NOS' news reported.
Weapons in luggage stored in the aircraft cargo hold do not pose a direct threat to air travel, Schiphol said.
But Justice Minister Donner said he is ordering an investigation to establish if weapons are being smuggled via baggage. He emphasised that the Transavia flight had not been in any danger.
He said 21 weapons with the appropriate permits had been transported through Schiphol last month. In most cases this referred to hunting weapons, news agency 'Novum' reported.
In March, jewels believed to be worth millions of euros were taken when an armed gang intercepted a van in a restricted area of Schiphol.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times newspaper in Britain reported that the ban on air passengers having metal cutlery, needles and nail scissors has been relaxed on British flights.
Ministers believe improvements to in-flight security, such as reinforced cockpit doors and the deployment of armed sky marshals mean the objects are unlikely to pose a risk in the hands of a would-be hijacker, the newspaper reported.
[Copyright Expatica + Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + Schiphol Airport