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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wires and betteries in passenger's shoes

David Knowles

(May 10) -- Pakistani police are detaining a passenger who attempted to board a flight Sunday night in Karachi after they discovered wires and batteries in the soles of his shoes. When questioned, the man told authorities the circuitry was not a bomb component but rather part of his shoes' built-in foot massager.

Faiz Mohammad, 30, was set to travel to Oman aboard a Thai Airways flight when his shoes were placed on the X-ray machine at a security checkpoint.

"We have seen such shoes for the first time [today]," police investigator Niaz Khoso told Reuters. "To be honest, we did not know that such shoes are available. ... We have not released him yet but if he is found innocent, we will let him go for sure."

Both of Mohammad's shoes contained a small circuit that was connected to two AAA batteries, The Associated Press reported. Mohammad, a civil engineer who works for a company in Oman, said he bought the shoes in a market in Karachi and was unaware of how they were wired.

Pakistani police said that hardware similar to that found in Mohammad's soles could be used in the making of bombs, but they found no explosives on him or in his shoes.

On Dec. 22, 2001, Richard Reid tried but failed to detonate explosives hidden in the soles of his shoes with a match while on a trans-Atlantic flight. His case led to the introduction of new security measures that require passengers to remove their shoes at airports for X-ray examination.
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