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Yet Another Security Breach At ORD  
User currently offlineAirFinAir From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 670 posts, RR: 1
Posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3266 times:

Here we go again....

From Chicago Tribune


2 cleavers found in bag after screening
By Rogers Worthington and Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune staff reporters
Published November 14, 2001

Argenbright Security Inc., already under fire for lax procedures and security failures, on Tuesday was dealing with new lapses by its screeners at two major airports.

A chef from Hong Kong was being held by Chicago police Tuesday after a United Airlines gate check of his carry-on baggage at O'Hare International Airport revealed that it contained two meat cleavers.

Meanwhile, a security guard at Boston's Logan International Airport who left her checkpoint area unattended for several minutes caused hundreds of Delta Airlines passengers to be forced out of a gate area to be rescreened.

The beleaguered company came under criticism last week for lapses by its security screeners at O'Hare, where a Nepalese man made it to the gate with seven knives, a stun gun and a can labeled pepper spray in his carry-on bag.

On Monday, the chef's bag had cleared a screening checkpoint at Miami International Airport operated by Argenbright, authorities said.

Ming Sung Mok, 76, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, a misdemeanor, Chicago police spokesman Pat Camden said. He was being held at the Jefferson Park District pending a criminal background check with Hong Kong police.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice said federal charges would not be filed against the man.

Argenbright officials announced Tuesday evening that they had begun an inquiry into the Miami incident that would be overseen there by David Beaton, who was named chief executive officer last week in an internal shake-up.

Meanwhile, the company announced the suspension of the Logan guard and her supervisor and said it was dispatching an "operational compliance team" to Boston to investigate the incident. Logan was the point of departure for two of the airplanes in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The chef, who does not speak English, was traveling from Caracas, Venezuela, to Hong Kong via Miami and Chicago, authorities said. When he arrived at Miami on United Flight 868, he retrieved his checked bag, passed through an Argenbright-operated pre-departure screening checkpoint and carried it aboard United Flight 1259 to O'Hare, authorities said.

The flight arrived late, causing him to miss his connection to Hong Kong, police said. He spent the night sleeping in a chair on the concourse, a secured area accessible only to those who have passed through a screening checkpoint.

United security employees discovered the knives Tuesday morning during a random check of his bag as he prepared to board Flight 895 to Hong Kong, authorities said.

Copyright © 2001, Chicago Tribune

From the details in the article, it is somewhat confusing on whether or not he carried that bag on the flight from MIA-ORD. It sounds like he checked it at MIA, then tried to carry it on at ORD. I applaud UA staff for searching him prior to boarding at ORD. But this is a disgrace. Although it seems the man made a harmless mistake, I can't believe he made it through Argenbright "Security's" check-points at MIA and ORD!

IMHO, our aviation security is a JOKE! The same gov't that tells us that we should resume our normal lives and continue flying without fear are the ones who can't get their act together to pass a serious aviation securtiy bill that would (hopefully) prevent this type of breach from happening. They may argue that the arrest of this man proves that the system works. I argue that he should have never made it through "security" at ORD in the first place. Where was the FAA "oversight" of the screening areas? Will the gov't employees be held as responsible as the Argenbright empolyees? I doubt it.

Any thoughts?

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4028 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3210 times:

It seems pretty clear to me. The article clearly states:

When he arrived at Miami on United Flight 868, he retrieved his checked bag, passed through an Argenbright-operated pre-departure screening checkpoint and carried it aboard United Flight 1259 to O'Hare, authorities said.

My question is about the other incident.

Meanwhile, a security guard at Boston's Logan International Airport who left her checkpoint area unattended for several minutes caused hundreds of Delta Airlines passengers to be forced out of a gate area to be rescreened.

I'm trying to figure this one out. It doesn't sound like the area she was supposed to be guarding was the actual screening checkpoint itself, where passengers enter a sterile concourse, but rather an area where passengers exit the sterile concourse on their way to baggage claim.

But aren't the areas usually side by side?If it was the area where passengers exit, then it seems like that is an area the National Guard could have watched over. It's not like they would be x-raying bags or anything. They would just have to stand there and prevent people from entering the concourse and direct them over to the screening checkpoint.


User currently offlinePSU_DTW_SCE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3170 times:

It sounds like the security breach was at MIA, not ORD. Applaud the gate agent at ORD, scold the security for allowing a carry-on through in MIA.

As for the BOS incident, it could be something like guarding an exit or an escalator from people going through the wrong way and skipping the security checkpoint.

User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3146 times:

security is just getting worse after 9/11. how embarrassing.

User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 47
Reply 4, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3134 times:

Where is the FAA oversight? There isn't any. Believe it or not airport security firms are completely unregulated. There are no standards for training, no rules about how baggage and people are to be screened, nothing.

Worse, a bill that would rectify some of this is tied up in knots in Congress without hope of passage.

However we decide to revamp security, there must 1) be federal standards for how bags and people are screened, 2) proper and ongoing training for employees with checks to ensure employees are doing their jobs, 3) pay the employees a living wage, 4) if we continue to go the route of private firms they should be licensed, and with infractions punished by loss of said license if they do not live up to Federal standards, and 5) enforced protocols for what happens when a weapon or other contraband is discovered.

Feel free to add to this list. Pardon my french, but until Congress pulls its collective finger out and passes tougher legislation, airport security will continue to be nothing more than an expensive pantomime.

Charles, SJ

The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineHkgspotter1 From Hong Kong, joined Nov 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3136 times:

Thats what I love about the good old US of A. They run all over the world telling countries like the Philippines that there security is bad and that they may have to stop them flying to the USA. But at the same time the staff at US airports are proven again and again to be CRAP !!

How the hell are guns and huge knives still getting into airports and planes ????. Can anyone of you tell me that a bomb can not get on a plane at LA, Chicago or New York ??

User currently offlineAirFinAir From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 670 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3117 times:

Here's the best synopsis of these events I have found so far. (Seems that, for some reason, the press has not been paying much attention to this story as I believe they should be. Hmmm....)

IMHO, its not that the chef was a security threat, its that he got through Argenbright "Security's" checkpoint at MIA with those knives at all. Like Hkgspotter1 leads to, if guns and knives can get on an aircraft on carry-on baggage by (most likely) innocent people making honest mistakes, what's to stop someone with a different motive from bringing these items, or even more leathal weapons, on carry-on or even checked baggage.


-From the Chicago Sun Times-
November 14, 2001


"Little more than a week after letting a man with knives and a stun gun through an O'Hare Airport checkpoint, beleaguered Argenbright Security allowed a Chinese chef to reach his O'Hare-bound jetliner in Miami with two cleavers, officials said Tuesday.

The latest case involves a 76-year-old man who spoke little English and didn't fully understand the rules--not someone planning harm, officials said.

Sung Ming Mok flew into Miami from Venezuela earlier this week, officials said. Once in Miami, he retrieved his checked bags "because he was confused," then flew with them as carry-ons to Chicago on Monday, United Airlines spokesman Chris Brathwaite said. He spent Monday night with his luggage in United's Terminal One, waiting to depart the next day on United Flight 895 to Hong Kong.

When he approached Gate C-16 about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, he tried to check his bags, officials said. "As part of our security system and procedures, his bags were . . . hand-checked. That's when the cooking instruments were discovered," Brathwaite said.

Pulled from a bag were two 4-inch-by-4-inch metal kitchen knives, officials said.
"He was a chef at a restaurant that failed, from what I heard, and I guess was heading home to Hong Kong," Brathwaite said. "Obviously these particular instruments were . . . not supposed to be carried on the plane."

United employees called police, who questioned the man through an interpreter, Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Monique Bond said. Sung never went through checkpoints at O'Hare, spending his time in the "secured" area of the terminal, she said.

Sung, of Hong Kong, was charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon.
How he passed through one of Miami's nine checkpoints with the utensils is unclear, an airport spokeswoman said.

United officials are reviewing security videotapes to find out what happened, spokesman Joe Hopkins said. Atlanta-based Argenbright said the company's CEO was heading to Miami to "oversee a full inquiry."

Argenbright promised a sweeping overhaul, including better training and more pay, after Subash Gurung, a Nepal native, made it through an O'Hare checkpoint Nov. 3 with seven knives and other weapons in his carry-on. He was discovered as he tried to board a plane."

What is it going to take to get a true security system in place in this country? I feel like "The Powers That Be" are taking the "Let's Wait and See" approach to serious security breaches. (What a F&#$ing JOKE!)

Hkgspotter1 is right on. How can a government body as "powerful" as the FAA demand that foreign countries/ airlines abide by high security standards while they sit back and let lapses like these take place in our own airports! Two months after Sept. 11th and, in my opinion, security has not improved all that much, if at all.

BTW, I'm still waiting for that "sweeping overhaul" by Argenbright. Seems to me that they (Argenbright, FAA, Congress) might just be trying to "sweep" this incident, and others, under the carpet while our attention is pointed elsewhere.


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