Stories about Jantharubeksa Golf Course
Airport golf course security - December 23, 2003
A reader reports: ...a friend and I played golf on the airport course this morning. At the outer gate a military guard wearing an M-16 waved us through without so much as an ID check. The sign at the golf course says "No Weapons."
Bangkok airport arms itself for APEC - channelnewsasia.com, October 5, 2003
We promised no more unsafe airport stories, but this one does have a good enumeration of the issues that have been raised: He said the frontline security system at Don Muang is poor, with passengers allowed to breeze through immigration and into a cavernous duty-free hall without going through a metal detector. Easy vehicular access right up to the front doors of passenger terminals was also a concern.
Other risks at the airport, one of Asia's busiest, include an antiquated baggage security system that sends screened baggage back into the temporary possession of passengers before they check in...
"We feel that the golf course is a huge security risk for this airport. We have been asking for a number of years that it be closed," said a spokesman for the Board of Airline Representatives, which counts 65 carriers as members in Bangkok. "It is a shame the people of Thailand can not recognize the danger of having a golf course between the two runways of a major international airport."
Thailand has debated closing the course for years, and has shut it down during October due to APEC, but Pricha said Thai Airways has been told the air force will reopen the course after the summit.
No more dangerous airport stories? - October 1, 2003
Thanks to all those who are pointing out the "dangerous Bangkok airport" stories in the press. However, we are really interested in being the first to broach stories not appearing in the local press. On June 4 we were the first to point out international concerns about the airport and the airport golf course in particular. Now that these things appear in all the papers daily, there is probably no need to keep repeating them here...
No golfing at airport during Apec meet - The Nation, September 24, 2003
The Air Force's Kantarat Golf Course at Bangkok International Airport will be out of bounds to players, even to officer members, for all of next month.
"This shutdown does not mean that we admit that the golf course poses a security risk to the airport," Air Vice Marshall Sumet Phomanee said yesterday, adding that the move was also not a response to any specific threat...
The 47-year-old private golf course is reserved exclusively for members and their guests. It is separated from the runways by a five-meter-wide ditch and protected by 24-hour checks.
We received many reports in the past that anyone can golf there for a 400 baht fee.
PM slams report on airport security - The Nation, September 12, 2003
Finally, local papers mention security concerns caused by the airport golf course. 2B first mentioned this on June 4, 2003 (Closing the "dangerous" Don Muang airport golf course):
Thaksin said the analyst had no solid knowledge of the airport and had dreamed up his assessment from his imagination...
Despite the PM's remarks, senior Thai security officials told The Nation that they agreed with Skilbeck's assessment of security arrangements at the airport.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the golf course near the runway and the parking lots underneath the international terminals were easily accessible and included few security checkpoints.
Golf carts were forced to give way to incoming planes, they said, and golfers had to virtually cross the taxiway to complete their round of golf.
Experts warn of missile risk at Bangkok airport - The Nation, September 5, 2003
2Bangkok.com first reported this on June 4, 2003 (Closing the "dangerous" Don Muang airport golf course). And today The Nation has an article that interestingly enough does not point out why the airport is considered a risk--the military's golf course that snakes around the runways.
The Nation: Terrorism experts in Australia and the United States claim Bangkok has a "high-risk" airport and that there is a credible threat to passenger aircraft from surface-to-air missiles.... "Particularly because of the amount of arms that are trafficked through Thailand, I would say Bangkok is probably the airport I would have greatest concern about in Southeast Asia," Dr Williams was quoted saying.
Playing the Don Muang airport golf course - June 4, 2004
We received several emails about the Don Muang golf course. This account is typical: I've played the airport course. Three fellow farangs and I took a cab, drove in, unloaded our big golf bags, paid our Bt400 each, and got down to business. No bag search, no military ID, no gate even that I recall (it was at least a year ago). The only security was a wooden sign bearing the words "No Photography." We took a picture of it. We also smacked a couple balls down the tarmac just to see how far they would roll. I remember my friend watching an approaching 747 and saying "That would be the daily Swiss Air from Geneva." I pulled my 5-iron out and mock-aimed it at the landing plane. This was the summer before September 11. Yeah, you could say the security was "not good."
Closing the "dangerous" Don Muang airport golf course - June 4, 2003
At a U.S. State Department briefing for expats in Bangkok in February 2003, the subject of Don Muang Airport's "dangerous golf course" was discussed. The golf course that snakes around the runways is thought to be one of the worst security risks in Asian airports since it offers an opportunity for terrorists to possibly hit planes head on with rocket propelled grenades.
Thaksin pushes for Asean visa - Bru Direct, September 13, 2003
The multi-country Southeast Asian visa has been brought up again: Many member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have expressed interest in Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's idea of banding together to issue joint visas, a Foreign Ministry spokesman revealed Thursday... However, it would be less wide-ranging than the (EU)European Union's Schengen visa, as while travellers would not have to request separate visas, they would still be required to go through immigration controls as they moved between the participating countries.