Nearly 200 Chinese tourists arriving on Shanghai Airlines' recently launched charter service to Saipan were outraged after security staff subjected many of them to body searches as part of an operation initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Staff of the travel company, Century Tours, say customs agents took scores of passengers one by one into a private room where they received an intensive body search .
Every piece of checked and carry-on luggage was also searched.
An agent from the DEA, said the searches were part of a drug interdiction effort the agency has long had in place at the nation's airports.
He conceded that such mass searches are conducted less frequently on Saipan, due to a shortage of time and manpower.
He added that the Shanghai flight was randomly selected and that the searches found nothing.