Singapore beefs up checkpoint security with BioScreen thumbprint scanning

Travellers aged above six who use the manned counters at checkpoints will have to scan thumbprints on arrival and departure.

Singapore is installing a new security system in the country that will record the thumbprints of all travellers aged six and above who arrive at immigration checkpoints.

The new thumbprints scanning system named BioScreen will be installed at all air, land and sea checkpoints in Singapore from Wednesday.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore said the new security system will "strengthen its verification of the identities of travellers".

All travellers aged above six who use the manned counters at the checkpoints will have to scan their thumbprints on arrival and departure.

"BioScreen clearance for those travelling by motorcycles, cars and lorries will be implemented at a later date," said the immigration authority said.

"With the implementation of BioScreen, travellers may experience slightly longer immigration clearance times at the checkpoints. ICA will monitor the implementation of BioScreen closely, and will fine-tune and adjust the implementation plans where necessary," the ICA said in a statement.

Earlier in January, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee had said bigger investments in technology were required by the rising need to maintain a high level of security at our checkpoints.

"Our Woodlands checkpoint is the busiest land checkpoint in the world. This presents security risks. Attackers can gather and plan just outside Singapore before coming into Singapore to carry out the attack," the minister said, according to Bernama.

"This will be similar to the attacks on Paris, where the planning and preparation were probably carried out in Molenbeek where security was less tight."

The new system will allow Singaporean authorities to verify the traveller's identity before he is allowed entry to Singapore, and will facilitate automated self-clearance during departure.