Chinese airport security alarm over ‘liquid glitter’ mobile phone case

Woman in China forced to send the item by post after being told she could not take it on board her domestic flight to Beijing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 6:47pm

A woman was stopped from taking her mobile phone case on board a flight in southwest China because it contained a potentially dangerous liquid, Chinese media reported.

The woman, identified only as Wang, was travelling from Chengdu, in Sichuan province, to Beijing with her family when airport security staff asked to check the “liquid glitter” phone case, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The case, which she bought for 500 yuan (US$79) a few months ago, was 1cm thick and contained a floating liquid and glitter, which staff decided could pose a safety risk.

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“When we got to the security inspections, I took out my phone with its liquid case,” Wang was quoted as saying. “After it went through the security machine, the staff took my phone and told me the case had to be checked in separately.”

Security said that it contained an unknown liquid and, following tests, could not be taken on to the plane. With no check-in luggage to put it in, Wang decided to send her phone case to Beijing by express delivery.

But she was puzzled by the security issue, and said: “I have previously carried it on flights in Beijing, Shenzhen, Anshan and other places.

“Why must they only check it in Chengdu? Are all airport regulations not the same?”

The incident has aroused debate because different airports have different regulations.

Chengdu Shuangliu airport’s security department told Beijing Youth Daily that although the liquid was sealed, the security staff on site were responsible for deciding whether an item should be allowed on board.

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China, meanwhile, advised against carrying such cases onto aircraft, to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.

“If it is a flammable and explosive liquid, there is a certain degree of danger, so usually the airport security will inspect it and require the passenger to check it in,” a representative was quoted as saying.

“In this incident, the mobile phone case is small and the sealed liquid would not exceed 20ml, so some airport security may judge that there is no safety hazard and allow the passenger to carry it on.”

Passengers who board flights in China cannot carry more than 100ml of a single liquid product on a flight.