January 26, 2016 10:55
Two Chinese transfer travelers who sneaked through security at Incheon International Airport last Thursday have been caught in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province on Monday.
The security breach, which remained undetected for 24 hours, comes amid a heightened alert against terror attacks.
The pair, a man and a woman, flew from Narita to Incheon at around 7:30 p.m. last Thursday and were supposed to board a flight to Beijing at 8:20 p.m. the following day. Ostensibly waiting for the transfer, they moved to a duty-free zone and walked through an unlocked gate from there to the departure area.
After passing through the gate, they also slipped through a door used by airport staff next to the immigration checkpoint.
That door should have been locked as well, but the two Chinese passengers "passed through without any restraint," the Korea Airports Corporation said.
They then headed to the airport lobby after breaking a latch that had held another glass door shut.
According to KAC, the passengers used either their hands or some kind of tool to remove the latch.
CCTV cameras in the airport captured the two breaking open the door and rushing outside at around 1:25 a.m. last Friday.
Korean Air notified immigration when the two did not board the plane to Beijing, but immigration officials took 24 hours to notify airport administrators to check the surveillance cameras.
But Korean Air also failed to notify airport officials.
A Korean Air spokesman said, "The flight that was to take the two passengers to Beijing was delayed from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Chinese passengers did not show up and we gave up looking for them and unloaded their bags. We notified immigration by telephone at around 7:57 p.m. as the plane began to head to the tarmac and also sent them a fax with the same information."
The spokesman claimed the carrier is not required to notify airport officials as well.
Earlier, the Chinese pair apparently asked airport staff if it would be possible for them to enter Korea briefly until their onward flight the following evening. But they had no entry visas or tourist pass, so airport staff declined.
Police and immigration officials tracked them to Cheonan, where they were arrested on Monday afternoon.
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