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Asia Minute: Singapore to Begin Fingerprinting Visitors


Singapore will soon become the latest Asian nation to require all international visitors to scan their fingerprints. That’s been a requirement for international visitors coming to the United States for years. But Singapore’s move signals increasing concerns about terrorism in Southeast Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’ve traveled to Japan, Korea or Taiwan in the last nine years, you know the drill.

The stop at passport control at the airport includes an electronic scan of your fingerprints.

Overseas visitors to the United States have been doing this for even longer.

Starting in June, Singapore will adopt a similar fingerprint program.

Security concerns have moved higher on the agenda of Singapore and other regional governments in Southeast Asia following a terrorist attack in Jakarta two weeks ago that was linked to the Islamic State.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee estimates about a thousand Southeast Asians may have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State….including a number of suicide bombers.

Singapore will start scanning visitor fingerprints in June at all points of entry:  air, land and sea.

That includes the Woodlands border crossing with Malaysia—entry point for anyone coming from Malaysia by road or rail.

Lee says it’s the “busiest land checkpoint in the world.”

Malaysia is the third-leading source of visitors to Singapore. China is number two. And the country sending the most travelers to Singapore is Indonesia.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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