Rutgers student who caused Newark airport security breach completes community service
Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 3:33 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 4:52 PM
Alexi Friedman/The Star-Ledger
Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger Following his sentencing, Haisong Jiang (center),the Rutgers student who is accused of breaching Newark Liberty International Airport security, leaves the chamber of judge Richard Nunes at Newark Municipal Court in Newark on 03/09/10. He is sentenced 100 hours community service, $500 fine and other conditions.
NEWARK — The Rutgers University doctoral student who pleaded guilty to ducking under a security barrier at Newark Liberty International Airport in January to kiss his girlfriend goodbye — prompting a partial shutdown of the airport — has completed his court-ordered community service.
Haisong Jiang, of Piscataway, performed the required 100 hours of community service by working for the Newark Sanitation Department, city officials said. He also paid a $658 fine.
Jiang, 28, was arrested days after the Jan. 3 incident at Newark Liberty’s Terminal C, which was caught on video surveillance camera. In the video, an airport guard leaves his post and moments later, Jiang passes under the security ribbon to meet his girlfriend, who was heading to California. The couple kiss then walk to an area open to passengers who had cleared security. Jiang had not.
His amorous act led to a six-hour shutdown of the terminal and delayed thousands of travelers. Jiang left the airport before the shutdown, and was unaware of the chaos.
The incident thrust the shy researcher who works with mice to study glaucoma and cataracts, into the international spotlight. He has since expressed remorse, and in an interview after the plea agreement, said, “I made a big mistake, and I also learned a big lesson in my life.”
For his community service, Jiang’s work included “sweeping and picking up paper, cutting the grass and maintaining lots, and performing necessary duties at the city garage,” said Marvin Adames, Newark’s chief municipal prosecutor.
Jiang, a Chinese citizen who is in the U.S. on a student visa, began his court-ordered service immediately after the March 9 plea deal. When Jiang learned he could not work off the hours at a library or hospital as planned, he didn’t protest, Adames said.
“He worked and took it like a man,” Adames said.
Jiang averaged about 10 hours a week and finished May 15.
Jiang still faces up to $11,000 in civil penalties from the federal Transportation Security Administration. Eric Bruce, Jiang’s attorney for the criminal case, is also representing him in the TSA matter, which is still being processed. The TSA guard who left his post was suspended 10 days for the incident but kept his job.
Jiang did not comment for this story, but Bruce said his client “is now focused on completing his doctorate degree, furthering his research into the causes of glaucoma and moving forward with his life.”
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