Date
23 May 2017
CY Leung (inset right), meets visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Jamming devices used by the police to secure Widodo reportedly interferred with air traffic control operations. Photos: HK government, CNSA
CY Leung (inset right), meets visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Jamming devices used by the police to secure Widodo reportedly interferred with air traffic control operations. Photos: HK government, CNSA

Police lashed over radio jamming during Widodo visit

Hong Kong police have been criticized for allegedly putting airline passengers at risk when Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived on Sunday for a two-day visit.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam, a former pilot, wants a thorough investigation into reports that police used jamming devices to protect Widodo, compromising aviation safety, according to Apple Daily.

Independent lawmaker Claudia Mo is demanding an explanation from the police.

Their concern came after a netizen said in a Facebook post on Sunday night that the police used radio jammers on their anti-terror vehicles as part of security arrangement’s for the visiting leader.

The netizen, said to be an air traffic controller, wrote that the measures seriously endangered multiple airplanes in the air at the time.

According to the post, the radio jammers interfered with radio signals from the air traffic control system.

As a result, air control staff and pilots could barely hear each other due to the loud noises caused by the jammers.

An audio file acquired by Apple Daily confirmed that the noises emerged at about 2 p.m. Sunday and lasted for at least 10 minutes.

In response to the post, a spokesman from the Civil Aviation Department said some air traffic control equipment did encounter “temporary” radio jamming on Sunday afternoon but added neither service nor any flights was affected.

Cheung Sing-wai, an associate professor in the University of Hong Kong Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, told Ming Pao Daily that the police are able to target and jam specific frequencies and should have known better.

He said air traffic controllers could suffer interference from operational error or from strong radio waves sent by jammers.

Meanwhile, the police department is keeping silent about its security arrangements for Widodo.

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TL/AC/RA

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