Arrival at an Asian airport
Contributed by Chuck Krueger ([email protected]). Contributed articles do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the ÆGIS e-journal.
During the time I have worked at an airport in an Asian country, I have been queried more than a few times by acquaintances with regard to threats in that particular locale and asked for recommended measures to be taken. Of course, some threats and concerns change over time and differ in the degree of danger to the individual traveler, but certain of these are sufficient to warrant concern, and measures should be taken to avoid being victimized.
When packing for a trip, never place valuables in your checked baggage (Have you ever seen baggage handlers work? Do you know how relatively small their monthly salaries are?). Choose luggage that is ordinary, normal, not eye-catching, but make sure you can easily identify it from a distance. When dressing for the flight, dress comfortably, anticipate needs, and remember not to put your travel documents in the pocket of a piece of clothing you may take off. Avoid wearing jewelry and other eye-catching accessories. Watch out when carrying laptops or palm-size computers. The market for those is brisk and most folks would really like to have one — maybe yours.
Try to arrange to be met by someone on your arrival, preferably someone personally known to you. If you are being met by someone, but not by someone personally known to you, have a challenge and response, or use some other means to positively identify them as the party they portray themselves to be.
Generally speaking, crimes in this part of the world are disproportionately committed during the hours of darkness, especially late at night. If at all possible, do not arrive at an airport after 10 p.m. local time. If you must arrive after that time, you should exercise a much higher level of caution than normal when leaving the airport.
Assuming you are not met and you ride in a taxi to your hotel, ride in the rear seat directly behind the driver, within arms distance from him. If the driver attempts anything irregular, dangerous to you, you can subject him to pain and dissuade him of his actions. Always have money or money instruments (credit or ATM card, checks, etc.) in or on more than one pocket, bag, place, location, or person.
Always remember, many Asian criminals believe that many Westerners are wealthy and do not really understand the peculiarities of their land – so they are good victims.