TRENTON – Legislation to toughen penalties for airport security breaches continues advancing toward law.
The bill (A-2288) was introduced after the Jan. 3 incident at Newark Liberty International Airport involving Haisong Jiang, 28, a Rutgers University graduate student who lives in Piscataway.
Jiang was arrested after authorities identified him as the man who slipped under a security ribbon after a guard briefly left his post. Jiang entered an area where passengers already had been screened. When someone noticed what happened, the terminal was shut down for six hours.
The bill was approved by the Assembly on Thursday and would:
· Establish the crime of entering into restricted airport property in violation of federal security requirements.
· Set forth two restricted areas on public airports.
· The first area, a “sterile passenger holding area” is defined as any portion of a public airport designated by appropriate signs as an area into which access is conditioned upon the prior inspection of persons and property.
· The second area, an “operational area” is defined as any portion of a public airport, from which access by the public is prohibited by fences or appropriate signs.
Under the bill, any person who knowingly trespasses in these areas would be guilty of a fourth degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to 18 months or both.
The bill was approved 78-0 and now goes to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee for more consideration.
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