Indonesia Bans Bomb Jokes at Airports Following Islamic State Attacks

Officer stand guard outside the local police headquarters following an attack in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Monday, May 14, 2018. The police headquarters in Indonesia's second largest city was attacked Monday by suspected militants who detonated explosives from a motorcycle, a day after suicide bombings at three churches in the …
AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

Joking about bombs at Indonesian airports will carry severe repercussions beyond merely being removed from a plane, including up to a one-year imprisonment sentence, authorities announced on Monday.

Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry announced the new sanctions against “anyone who expresses false information that could endanger flight safety” amid the high security issued in the nation’s capital following a series of deadly attacks in recent days claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), the Jakarta Post reports, noting:

Joking about bombs will have sanctions that include passengers being removed from the plane to being charged with imprisonment, while an airport could be temporarily closed as security measurements are taken.

As regulated in Law No. 1/2009 on the Transportation Ministry’s national flight safety program, anyone who expresses false information that could endanger flight safety could face a maximum of a one-year prison sentence. With bomb attacks having occurred in airports worldwide, bomb threats and bomb-related remarks are taken very seriously.

Indonesian airports have reportedly experienced a wave of false bomb alerts in recent years, with the most recent one occurring on Saturday at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang. The Jakarta Post explains:

A Lion Air passenger reportedly uttered the word “bomb” toward a flight attendant upon boarding the plane, as quoted by kompas.com.

The JT 618 flight bound for Pangkalpinang, Bangka, was delayed, while all 148 passengers with their luggage had to be rechecked for safety reasons.

In 2017, a passenger traveling with Garuda Indonesia jokingly alerted that there was a bomb in the bag he was carrying, prompting a similar response.

Following a string of terrorist attacks, including one conducted by a family of five that attacked a police headquarters in the city of Surabaya on Monday, Argo Yuwono, a spokesperson for the Jakarta police, revealed that law enforcement had implemented extra security measures to safeguard the Indonesian capital.

“The high-security alert issued by the Jakarta Police chief is aimed at police officers to be vigilant,” Argo reportedly said.

Over the weekend, a different ISIS-linked family of six attacked three separate churches, killing about 13 people and injured more than 40.

The family that attacked the police building wounded at least ten people.

Wawan Purwanto from Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency, reportedly revealed that an estimated 930 Indonesians have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS since 2013.

“Of those, around 400 had returned to Indonesia while 100 are known to have died in battle,” CNN reports. “Exact numbers are uncertain because immigration officials in Iraq and Syria don’t have a record of them entering those countries, Wawan said.”

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