Asian airport security workers have been advised to treat Furby soft toys as potentially high-risk objects. They might look fluffy and innocent but there are concerns that these hugely-popular electronic robotic toys could be used to conceal improvised explosive devices and other serious air travel security risks.
The Furby airport explosives risk was raised after one security worker at Thailand’s Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport observed a Furby being carried onto a flight.
AOT’s (the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited’s) official line on Furbies is now that they’re permitted onboard aircraft but should be screened first. Classified as high-risk security objects, they’ve been put into the same category as smartphones and laptops.
On top of that, their batteries have to be removed before they’re allowed past security since, according to Somchai Sawasdipol – Airports of Thailand’s director – there’s the risk that these batteries could have been illegally modified and, so, present a risk to other passengers.
“We need to be vigilant with Furbies, as terrorists in the past have used similar dolls to hide bombs”, Sawasdipol told journalists at a media event on the Furbies airport explosives risk response, held on 11 February 2013. This event was staged to counter mounting speculation that, actually, Thailand was planning to completely ban Furbies from passengers’ hand luggage. As Sawasdipol explained, that’s not the case.