A passenger checks the information of flight departures at Beijing's international airport, China Monday, April 19, 2010. Several thousand air passengers were stranded in Asia for days as flights were grounded because of a massive cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano that paralyzed European airports. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Durban - An Isipingo man, who was arrested after allegedly bragging about making a hoax bomb threat call to King Shaka International Airport, appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

The 26-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation by airport police and security as well as provincial police.

Airports Company South Africa spokesman Colin Naidoo hailed the arrest and said he hoped it would serve as a deterrent to others.

“It (hoax call) causes disruptions to schedules,” he said.

Naidoo said the calls were taken seriously and immediately investigated by police and airport security.

“After the call we implement an emergency plan by security stakeholders. The level of the threat is determined by security so as to not create panic in the airport.”

He said the callers put passengers and staff, as well as aircraft, at risk.

“When the area is declared safe we continue with our operations.”

A source said the man bragged about what he had allegedly done. He was arrested after an informer tipped off the police.

The source said the accused could allegedly be linked to two other hoax bomb threat calls, made on the same day, to the Verulam court and Gateway shopping centre. The call to the airport was made two days later.

Naidoo said he could not comment on the particular incident because the matter was being handled by the police.

Zwane said the man was released on a warning, so did not need to pay bail, on Thursday after a brief court appearance.

“He was charged for making bomb threats,” he said.

Zwane said hoax bomb threats, in general, wasted police time and resources.

“We appeal to the public to refrain from this practice.”

Daily News