17 Oct 2008

CNMI tourism officials apologise to China for body searches

12:57 pm on 17 October 2008

Tourism officials in the Northern Marianas have apologised to authorities in China after Drug Enforcement Administration agents subjected scores of Chinese tourists to intensive body searches.

The Governor, Benigno Fitial, also vowed action to prevent such incidents in the future.

He says his administration wants to talk to the federal government about the searches and how to prevent them from recurring.

The searches focused on 147 of the 187 passengers who arrived at Saipan airport on an early morning charter.

Many of the travellers said later that they were outraged by the treatment but the DEA has defended its agents' actions as standard practice.

CNMI lawmakers are seeking full disclosure of the details surrounding what they have called highly irregular searches.