SINGAPORE - All travellers coming into Singapore by land, air or sea from June will have their fingerprints taken, said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will be capturing the fingerprints of anyone who enters Singapore at its air, land and sea checkpoints, as part of plans to beef up border security, Mr Lee told Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 27).
The fingerprint scans will allow the immigration authorities to "verify the traveller's identity before he is allowed entry into Singapore and will facilitate automated self-clearance during his departure", said Mr Lee.
The additional biometric screening across Singapore's checkpoints comes in the wake of heightened terror threat to ensure that Singapore does not fall prey to terrorist attacks.
Mr Lee said that more than half a million people pass through Singapore's checkpoints every day, with the Woodlands checkpoint being the busiest land checkpoint in the world.
"These present security risks. Attackers can gather and plan just outside Singapore before coming into Singapore to carry out the attack,' said Mr Lee.
"Border control is therefore our first line of defence to prevent an attack from taking place in Singapore," he added.
At least three countries scan the fingerprints of visitors: the United States started doing so in 2004 after the Sept 11 terror attacks of 2001.
Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also introduced fingerprint scans from 2007.