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‘Unbelievable case of concealment’ being probed after man boards flight in disguise

Nov. 5, 2010, Vancouver - Canadian officials are investigating what they called an “unbelievable case of concealment” after an Asian man in his early 20s successfully boarded a Vancouver-bound flight in Hong Kong disguised as an elderly Caucasian man.


November 5, 2010
By The Vancouver Sun

The incident happened on Oct. 29, on Air Canada flight AC018, according to CNN, which obtained a confidential intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency dated Nov. 1.

“The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young-looking hands,” the alert stated. “During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian male that appeared to be in his early 20s.”

Border services officers met the man at the gate in Vancouver and escorted him off the aircraft and through the primary inspection line, where he made a claim for refugee protection, the alert said.

The man originally claimed to have only one piece of luggage, but the border officers found two more. One bag contained personal clothing, a second contained a pair of gloves and a third contained a “disguise kit” including a silicone-type head and neck mask of an elderly Caucasian male, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan.

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The alert said the man donned the disguise for border officers, even mimicking the movements of an elderly person, and admitted he boarded the flight with the disguise on and removed it several hours later.

The alert said it is believed the man swapped boarding passes with a U.S. citizen passenger who was born in 1955, but it is unclear why he did so.

In addition to the boarding card, the man also provided an Aeroplan card — issued by Air Canada’s frequent flyer program — as identification when he boarded in Hong Kong. Neither boarding nor Aeroplan cards reflect dates of birth.

Air Canada and CBSA officials confirmed to CNN that the CBSA intercepted a passenger arriving off AC018 on Oct. 29 and that an investigation is continuing.

The man is in CBSA detention awaiting an immigration and refugee board hearing.