Hong Kong Airport Security Loses Face

Hong Kong Airport Security Loses Face

ReutersFrom left: the unidentified Asian passenger, the man with the silicon mask and him in full disguise.
Authorities are still scratching their heads over how a young Asian man wearing a silicone rubber mask of an elderly white man got through airport security.

A Nov. 1 confidential intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency, first obtained by CNN, said it was believed the man swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old U.S. citizen to board an Oct. 29 Air Canada flight to Vancouver from Hong Kong. The masked Asian passenger boarded with an Aeroplan frequent-flier credit card, the report stated. Canadian press have reported his trip originated in China’s Fujian province.
Protocol at Hong Kong International Airport dictates passengers in transit undergo security screening and makes individual airlines responsible for checking boarding passes and travel documents at the boarding gate, said an Airport Authority Hong Kong representative.

Air Canada said there are multiple identity checks for transit passengers in Hong Kong, including a final passport check at the gate. The airline said it is investigating the matter, but spokeswoman Angela Mah insisted “the rumor that Air Canada staff at the boarding gate accepted an Aeroplan card as proof of identification in lieu of passport at the gate is totally unfounded.”

The border agency’s alert said the man resembled an elderly Caucasian man both in physical appearance and movements but was observed to have young-looking hands. Once in flight, he went to a plane washroom and emerged without disguise as an Asian man, apparently in his early 20s. Escorted off the plane by a Border Services officer in Vancouver, he made a claim for refugee protection and remains in custody.
Alice Truong

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