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Private rooms for security patdowns at Chinese airports?

Private rooms for security patdowns at Chinese airports?

Old Jan 4, 19, 11:36 pm
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Private rooms for security patdowns at Chinese airports?

Hi all - I’ve read that security pat-downs are common at Chinese airports. In other countries you can request this happens in a private room. Is this possible in China? (Specifically, Shanghai and Beijing?)

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Old Jan 5, 19, 5:26 am
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Originally Posted by Chramil View Post
Hi all - I’ve read that security pat-downs are common at Chinese airports. In other countries you can request this happens in a private room. Is this possible in China? (Specifically, Shanghai and Beijing?)
For what type of illness (no need to go into detail)?
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Old Jan 6, 19, 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by Chramil View Post
Hi all - I’ve read that security pat-downs are common at Chinese airports. In other countries you can request this happens in a private room. Is this possible in China? (Specifically, Shanghai and Beijing?)


Hi and welcome to FT

It is true that pat-downs are very common - but they are very different to the ones you may be thinking of in the USA. In China you will simply be asked to stand where you are immediately after coming out of the x-ray or metal detector. There is an outline of a pair of shoes on a mat and you stand there with your arms slightly away from the side of your body. They officer will then wand around your entire body, not touching you. If the detector is set off they will lightly pat the specific area that has set off the alarm (like for a metal button on your trousers), or ask you to show them what has set off the alarm (like a necklace). There is no intrusive or invasive touching.

Just about everyone seems to set off the main detector, and everyone knows the drill for the pat down. It takes all of 10-15 seconds.

I have never seen anything more intrusive than described above, but I guess it must happen in some circumstances. Chinese officers may not be chatty but they are never rude or unpleasant... so if there is a particular reason you think you may be singled out maybe you could indicate what that is and someone on here can provide specific advice about what to ask for, and when.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
If the detector is set off they will lightly pat the specific area that has set off the alarm
Thanks very much for the detailed reply. I make very sure that there’s never any metal whatsoever on my person at airports,

But the possibility of a false alarm is always there I guess, and I’m wondering if the option exists for this “light pat” to take place in private in China?
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Old Jan 6, 19, 5:44 am
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Sounds mysterious.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 5:51 am
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Originally Posted by Chramil View Post


Thanks very much for the detailed reply. I make very sure that there’s never any metal whatsoever on my person at airports,

But the possibility of a false alarm is always there I guess, and I’m wondering if the option exists for this “light pat” to take place in private in China?
There is no ‘pat down’ of the whole body. The manual search is conducted by an electronic wand (hand held metal detector). It doesn’t touch your body. It is however susper sensitive... it picks up those metal press studs than can be on jeans or pants pockets, or zippers, or a necklace.

The security officer will just look to confirm it is a zipper or press stud, or belt buckle. You will see almost every passenger before you undergo the search, so you will be able to see it is completely non invasive. Nothing like a TSA ‘pat down’.

If you did not have good reason for a private search, i would suggest you would win no favours from either the security personnel or the passengers standing behind you in the queue. You would be turning a ‘nothing’ into a ‘something’.

If it is something that you know they will find, like a prosthetic limb or metal implant, then you might want to let them know before the screening,
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Old Jan 6, 19, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post


There is no ‘pat down’ of the whole body. The manual search is conducted by an electronic wand (hand held metal detector). It doesn’t touch your body. It is however susper sensitive... it picks up those metal press studs than can be on jeans or pants pockets, or zippers, or a necklace.

The security officer will just look to confirm it is a zipper or press stud, or belt buckle. You will see almost every passenger before you undergo the search, so you will be able to see it is completely non invasive. Nothing like a TSA ‘pat down’.

If you did not have good reason for a private search, i would suggest you would win no favours from either the security personnel or the passengers standing behind you in the queue. You would be turning a ‘nothing’ into a ‘something’.

If it is something that you know they will find, like a prosthetic limb or metal implant, then you might want to let them know before the screening,
The above was NOT my experience in either PVG in October or PEK two weeks ago.
In both cases, it was a young female agent who wanded me, but also certainly felt my arms and legs quickly. I would say 15 seconds is about right, but if you expect not to be touched at all, stay out of China.
YMMV
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Old Jan 6, 19, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
There is no ‘pat down’ of the whole body. The manual search is conducted by an electronic wand (hand held metal detector). It doesn’t touch your body. It is however susper sensitive... it picks up those metal press studs than can be on jeans or pants pockets, or zippers, or a necklace.
I receive the whole body pat down 95% of the time, and chalk it up as a free massage.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 6:17 am
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Tuck your shirt in, or they will lift it up to see if you have a belt buckle on.

Take anything with the slightest metal content and put it through x-ray, if possible.

I find Chinese airport searches intrusive, maybe less sensitive souls don't.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by wxman22 View Post
but if you expect not to be touched at all, stay out of China.
YMMV
No, no such expectation; I respect their need to search people. But a hope that such a search can take place in private rather than out in the open.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 4:47 pm
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Never seen such a room. Better avoid China then.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by JPDM View Post
Never seen such a room. Better avoid China then.
I haven't either, but then again, the thought has never occurred to me. Basically, the concept of personal privacy is almost completely non existent in China.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 6:36 pm
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I'll join the crowd--searches are very common but they're only aimed at whatever the wand finds, they aren't TSA gropes. Chinese security seems to work with the understanding that it's almost certainly nothing and they are simply confirming this, rather than the TSA-style gotcha.

(If anything I would say they're too quick to clear things. My wife set off a nuke detector and they cleared her quickly without seeing the card from the lab or doing anything to confirm she was hot rather than anything she was carrying.)
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Old Jan 6, 19, 7:43 pm
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Concur with all of the above. Have never seen a private room for normal passenger body searches, and I shudder to think of the response of the security staff if you were to ask for one. I'm sure the Chinese have private detention rooms within the airport, where they can conduct full body searches if they suspect one of criminal activity....and they would probably be confused why you would volunteer your eagerness to use one of these.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I receive the whole body pat down 95% of the time, and chalk it up as a free massage.
Even when the wand doesn’t detect anything?
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