Police release Turkish couple whose 'bomb' remark shut down Alor Star airport

EMBUN MAJID

ALOR STAR: Police have released a Turkish couple who caused panic at the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport here last night, when one of them told airport staff that there was a bomb in their luggage.

Kota Setar district police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Rozi Jidin said the couple, aged 23 and 28, was released at 1am today after their statements were recorded.

Possessing valid travel documents, the duo was in the state for a culture-related event and was planning to depart for Subang on a Malindo Air flight yesterday.

Rozi said in the 8pm incident, the 23-year-old man arrived at the departure counter to check-in his luggage, and was told that it was above the permitted weight limit.

He said the Turkish man then asked a favour from another passenger who was queued next to him, to help check-in his luggage.

"However, the man turned down the request, as they were boarding separate flights and the Turkish man, who was unhappy with the reply, told the guy that there was a bomb in his luggage," he said in a statement.

The passenger promptly alerted airport staff at the counter, who then asked the Turkish man for clarification.

“The staff asked the Turkish man about what had transpired, and he repeated to her that there was a bomb inside his luggage” Rozi said.

He added that the staff then contacted airport security, and the Turkish couple was subsequently detained and handed over to the police.

Rozi said the police's Bomb Disposal Unit was called to the scene to inspect the luggage, and later declared that their bags contained no bomb or explosive material.

The team also conducted a sweep of the airport and confirmed that the building was clear of any explosive device.

The operation ended well after midnight.

Rozi said the case is being investigated under Section 506 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, which carries a maximum seven years' imprisonment, or a fine, or both.