Fifteen people have been arrested since last year for saying the word "bomb" in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KLIA2, even if they were joking, a senior Malaysia police official said on Wednesday (May 4) according to the New Straits Times.
"Many of them were caught saying the word 'bomb' jokingly at the baggage check-in counter and in the airport vicinity," District police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali was quoted as telling reporters.
"People must know that this not something you can joke around as it can bring about serious consequences."
He said the 15 have been charged with criminal intimidation under Code 92 of the Airport Emergency Plan, which categorises any utterance of the word "bomb" as a threat and a serious offence.
Offenders can be jailed up to seven years or fined, or both.
"The number of cases is on the rise and this is very worrying trend," said Aziz. "We recorded seven cases last year. This year up until Tuesday we have had eight cases reported."
Malaysia has boosted security measures at transport hubs since the terrorism shoot-out and bombings in Jakarta in January and the Brussels attacks in March.
Airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings said it had tightened controls over the issuance of airport security passes and increased the frequency of security patrols and other checks.
The Australian government had in February issued a travel advisory warning its citizens that terrorist attacks may take place in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.