6 tools criminals use to open your luggage at South Africa’s airports

A major security sweep at OR International Airport over the festive season led to 33 arrests, and the confiscation of various prohibited tools held by airport staff, which could be used to open passenger bags.

Airport spokesperson Samukelo Khambule said that during the week to 6 January, 907 individuals and 101 vehicles on the airside were stopped and searched.

A total of 4,400 people and 661 vehicles have now been stopped and searched since the peak season began.

Khambule said security operations on the terminal or landside part of the airport generated 11 cases of trespassing as part of the drive to identify and remove loiterers from the buildings.

Searches on the airside, meanwhile, led to the separate discoveries of five tools that can be used to open bags.

The tools seized include a box cutter, a screwdriver and three items fashioned from pieces of metal, Khambule said.

Airport rules stipulate that only authorised engineering and maintenance employees can have tools on the airside.

Security management has also identified the standard carabiner that can be bought for camping and outdoor use as a tool used to open bags.

Carabiners are banned from the airside and cannot be used as key rings or to clip items to a belt, the airport said.

“Employees found with prohibited items have their airside security permits revoked regardless of whether they were directly linked to criminal activity. These people can no longer work on the airside, but their employment status is a matter for the contractor or service provider concerned,” said Khambule.

On 31 December an employee of a ground handling company was found with a new camera concealed in his clothing during a search at one of the airport’s exit gates for employees and service providers. He was taken to the airport’s SAPS station and arrested.

On the same day, an employee of a different ground handling company was found wearing two pairs of trousers containing six mobile phones.

An employee of a ground handling company was arrested on 6 January after being found in possession of perfume during a stop-and-search operation. Perfume bottles or containers are not permitted on the airside.

Employees are searched before and after they commence working on or around a particular aircraft, over and above searches at access control points and potentially being part of stop-and-search operations. Further, all employees working on randomly chosen flights can be subject to integrity testing, the airport noted.


Read: OR Tambo International continues major security sweep with more arrests

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6 tools criminals use to open your luggage at South Africa’s airports