Threat of terrorist attack on Australia's airport is a hoax: police

16:24, May 19, 2011      

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Victoria police Inspector Tony Ryan on Thursday said the threat against Australia' s Melbourne airport was a hoax.

A letter warning of an attack at Tullamarine and Avalon airports in Melbourne of Australia was earlier sent to authorities and media outlets. The threat detailed weapons that would be used.

According to inspector Ryan, police attended the airport after they have received the letter.

"It was a terrorist threat, but after investigation the police, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the airport decided it was a hoax," Ryan told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

Victoria Police also described the threat as "non genuine".

The Victoria Police's statement said there is no credible information to suggest there was any strength behind the threat made at this stage, and the matter is now subject to an ongoing joint investigation by Victoria Police and the AFP.

"As you can see from our response this morning (Thursday) we do take these matters seriously," Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp was quoted by Herald Sun as saying.

"If we can find the person responsible they will be facing charges and they will be put before the court," Crisp said.

In the wake of the terror threat, the Transport Workers' Union called for an immediate overhaul of security at Melbourne's airports, and accused authorities of withholding information.

"The workforce at these airports have received scant information about this threat, and are unsure what is going on," national secretary Tony Sheldon said in a statement.

"This is outrageous that management have not told employees in the area of the threat, what is being done to protect them and the public."

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Asia/Pacific director Roger Henning also said gaping holes in airport security in Melbourne needed to be addressed.

Henning said passengers and staff underwent security checks at the gates, but the "airside" area, such as the tarmac, was being breached.

No airport terminals were evacuated on Thursday.

Threats to the safety of aviation is a specific offense which attracts up to five years' jail.

Source: Xinhua
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