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[February 11, 2013]
Furbies seen as bomb risk
Feb 12, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Airport security officers have been told to look past the cuddly appearance of Furby toys and instead consider them a high-risk security threat.
Officers fear the robotic, owl-like toys, which contain sophisticated electronic circuiting, could be used to hide explosive devices.
The toy, which was popular in the late 1990s and has recently been relaunched, will join laptops and smartphones on the list of high-risk security items for carry-on luggage.
Luggage screening officers are not familiar with the toy's circuits and batteries, Somchai Sawasdeepon, acting president of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), said yesterday.
"We need to be vigilant with Furbies, as terrorists in the past have used similar dolls to hide bombs," he said.
Passengers have begun carrying their Furbies with them on flights, he said.
AoT was alerted to the potential threat after a security officer at Chiang Rai International Airport sought his boss's advice after spotting a passenger carrying the toy with her on board an aircraft.
Mr Somchai said passengers would still be allowed to carry their Furbies on board flights, but are advised to put them through X-ray security scanners, as they would with other sensitive items like metals or electronics.
They are also being advised to switch off the toy and remove the batteries while on board the aircraft.
Furbies made headlines nationwide last week after a woman was arrested for allegedly running an online scam selling the electronic toys.
Chonnikan Taichilasasoontorn, 27, was accused of using a 16-year-old girl to post advertisements on Instagram offering the toys for sale at 2,990 baht each. The retail price is 3,995 baht. At least 44 buyers ordered toys through the teenager.
The orders totalled more than 4 million baht. None were delivered.
Ms Chonnikan was released on bail.
___ (c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at www.bangkokpost.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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