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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 21 august 1998

The Gecko: 21 august 1998

A few too many terrorist bombs

going off around the world in places where none were

expected. All of this raises the question of security at

Pochentong airport.

Two security experts say that anyone disgruntled enough

and with a hand grenade or pistol could all too easily

make their way onto a departing plane at the

international airport and then what... hijack it or

worse?

The problem isn't the technology. Pochentong has the

latest, state-of-the- art gear as far as metal detectors

go. The problem is the people who don't use it.

One security expert said he had some fake bombs used in

seminars for business executives to demonstrate what they

look like. He took them with him when leaving the

country, put his bag through the carry-on luggage metal

detector and nobody raised an eyebrow. He says they could

have had real explosives instead of the dummy stuff and -

bingo - he would have been on a plane with a live bomb.

Another security consultant says just about anyone could

carry a weapon through the walk-thru metal detector as

the buzzer rings for just about all passengers but no one

is ever checked with one of those hand-held metal

detectors once the bell goes off.

Just ask yourself: when was the last time you walked thru

the detector before the international departure lounge

and after the bell rang someone checked to see if the

metal car keys you were carrying was a concealed handgun?

Of course, its so difficult to buy a weapon here that

maybe one shouldn't be concerned.

** There's some serious talk among opposition politicians

on how to re- run the entire election on a shoestring

budget. Here's the plan: re-use the ballot boxes, haul

out the leftover ballots of which there are heaps,

presumably, use pagodas for polling stations as they

would be available free-of-charge, and get monks for

election officials because you would only have to provide

them with food-and maybe you can get the people to donate

that.

** Hero of the month: the warden at a rural prison who

was worried about the health of his charges because funds

from the central till were insufficient to feed them. He

didn't panic, he just sold his own motorcycle and then

his cow to buy more food to feed the cons.

** Need a diversion from the muddle of post-electoral

politics. The Bayon Pearnik is hosting a "how many

people can you fit on a moto party" in front of the

Pink Elephant Bar on August 30.

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