March 02, 2007

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Ban the bottle

Shaky points out new security regulations at Hong Kong airport. All liquids and gels greater than 100mL are banned, which begs the question: is the conveniently round 100mL the exact threshold for dangerous liquid explosives? Is 99mL of anything below the critical mass required while 101mL is a threat to flight?

There are a few reasons this decision has been reached. Firstly it must have become too costly for the airport to keep screening America-bound passengers seperately. The authorities have so enjoyed telling passengers why they can't take 5 tubes of toothpaste or their 1 litre water bottles in their carry-on luggage that their colleagues screening passengers to less exotic destinations have become jealous. Now we can all look forward to laboriously long queues at passenger screening while passengers who can't read signs argue with officers who don't give a shit. Secondly with this ban Watsons outlets at the airport will see a bounce in sales because the liquids and gels they sell are "safe", although one wonders what security screening they go through with their deliveries. Can it be a co-incidence that HK Airport gets a percentage cut of airport store sales? Finally can it be long before we magically see "HK Airport endorsed" toiletry kits for sale (at Watsons of course) with 100mL shaving cream, deodorant and toothpaste all at the same price as full size cans?

Just like Hong Kong's election, the point of all this is not that it actually does any good, but rather that it's seen to be doing something. Hands up if you feel safer now?

posted by Simon on 03.02.07 at 02:41 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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According to my understanding, the restriction is to comply with the new guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. It appears to me that most of the airports in the World will implement similar restrictions gradually. There's no point to blame Hong Kong in complying with best practices/guidelines issued by the relevant international organisations.

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