In what Canada Border Services Agency is describing as an “unbelievable case of concealment,” a gentlemen who initially appeared to be an elderly Caucasian emerged from the airplane lavatory mid-flight as a young, 20-something Asian man. After the man’s swapped identity caught the attention of the flight crew, Border Services Officers (BSOs) were alerted and escorted the man from the plane when it landed on Canadian soil. According to CNN, it was at this time that the young man “proceeded to make a claim for refugee protection.”
“We can confirm that officials from the CBSA met a passenger arriving off AC018 Hong Kong to Vancouver on October 29 and the matter is still under investigation,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CNN. Fitzpatrick also noted that “there are multiple identity checks before departure at the Hong Kong international airport, including Chinese government-run Hong Kong passport control, which Hong Kong originating passengers must undergo.”
But according to a security alert obtained by CNN, the man traveled with a full disguise kit that seems to have easily fooled Hong Kong’s airport security screeners:
“The subject initially claimed to be in possession of one bag; however, flight crew approached the BSOs with two additional pieces of luggage which were believed to belong to the subject. One bag contained the subject’s personal clothing items while the second contained a pair of gloves. The third contained a ‘disguise kit’ which consisted of a silicone type head and neck mask of an elderly Caucasian male, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan.”
The man put on the disguise for the officers who “noted he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person. The subject admitted at this time that he had boarded the flight with the mask on and had removed it several hours later,” according to the alert.
The unnamed suspect remains in the custody of Canadian Border Security and the agency says they are now carefully monitoring all passengers arriving on international flights into Vancouver.
According to the security memo, the suspect boarded the Air Canada flight in Hong Kong using a boarding pass that belonged to another passenger. “It is believed that the subject and the actual United States Citizen passenger (whose date of birth is 1955) performed a boarding pass swap, with the subject using an Aeroplan card [frequent flyer] as identification to board the flight,” the alert said.