The clampdown on airport security is only getting stricter during the summer vacation season. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is levying harsher restrictions on banned items. The passengers possessing those items are now subject to harsher punishments than before.
Especially for Korean travelers, carrying food packages containing any of the banned substances could lead to leaving a permanent record for violating the CBP regulations.
One of the recent travelers, only identified by his last name Jin, was fined $300 recently for carrying a bag of frozen pork dumplings. The violation has put him on something of a blacklist and he now has to go through a closer inspection through the security checkpoint.
“I was stopped once for having the dumplings so I was very thorough with filling out the form of the items I was carrying,” Jin said. “But the security mentioned my previous record and required me to go through closer screening. The security told me that I’ll probably have to go through a similar process every time from now.”
Any traveler carrying a banned substance or item are subject to a fine of $50 to $500, according to the CBP.
“Anyone caught at the checkpoint will remain on the ‘to-watch list,’ which we share with the CBP agents at all airports nationwide,” said CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio. “Those travelers could be asked for a closer inspection in the future as well. Many Koreans have been found to be carrying the likes of frozen dumplings, ginsengs, peppers and other food items.”
In addition, travelers who do not fill out their 6059B forms properly are also subject to secondary inspections, which are often more time-consuming.
“My parents packed me a container of pickled meat and it leaked inside my luggage,” said another Korean traveler, only identified by her last name Yoo. “They inspected me really thoroughly afterward. It took an additional two hours and I felt really bad because my friend was at the airport waiting for me.”
By Yeol Jang