KUCHING: A soldier’s idea of a joke proved to be no laughing matter after he was arrested for making a bomb threat at the Kuching International Airport, which resulted in the cancellation of three flights yesterday.
District police chief ACP Abang Ahmad Abang Julai said the 25-year-old local made the ‘threat’ at 10.15am while checking in five pieces of luggage for his flight to Kota Baharu, Kelantan where he was slated to report back for duty after celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri here.
“The airline staff (member) stationed at the counter enquired about the contents of a box being checked in by the suspect, to which the latter replied that there was a bomb inside which was to be used to blow up the flight.
“The staff (member) repeated his question to the soldier who gave the same answer again, prompting the staff (member) to immediately alert his manager,” Abang Ahmad told a press conference held at district police headquarters following the incident.
He added that after the soldier was told his name would be struck off the passengers’ list, he made light of the situation by saying he had only been joking and that the box contained kek lapis and salted terubok, which he was carrying on behalf of a friend.
The ‘joke’, however, backfired on the soldier as he was arrested on the spot by airport police personnel, who then alerted the police Bomb Disposal Unit to conduct an inspection of the said box.
Abang Ahmad said three flights had to be cancelled as a result of the bomb hoax, as police personnel had to not only inspect the soldier’s luggage, but also conduct a two-hour sweep of the airport to make sure there were no elements of a bomb present.
“This is no laughing matter. It is neither the place nor time to make such a joke in light of terrorism threats happening across the world, and even more so when the state is currently hosting the Sukma games,” he stressed.
The soldier, whose family departed to Kota Baharu a day earlier, is scheduled to be brought to court today for police to apply for a remand order to investigate him for criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum two-year jail sentence, or a fine, or both. – BorneoPost