November 05, 2010

Ban 55-Year Old Americans!

Does the man on the right look 55 years old to you?

Because that's what the man on the left claimed he was when boarding an Air Canada flight out of Hong Kong last week. The Asian man wore a latex mask after passing through customs with his own name and passport and just before boarding the flight. Current speculation is that the older man was an accomplice, and that the two simply switched boarding passes while waiting; but he also could have targeted an older gentleman and stolen the pass at a moment of opportunity. It's not as likely because of the Aeroplan card, but still possible.

This con doesn't concern me much for a few reasons:

1) As good as the mask was, there is no way he could have avoided detection for the entire 14 hour flight. A mask like that is not only hot and stinky, the skin under it will itch like hell very quickly and simply drive whoever's under it insane. Add to that the spirit gum peeling off, the long time it takes to apply these masks on your own, and the familiarity that the cabin staff has with their passengers (far more than the gate staff who will see a person once) and they will get busted before getting to their destination. His hands, for instance, had already been noticed by flight staff.

2) Coming from Hong Kong and applying for refugee protection? Frankly, I can't say I blame him: I can't think of a totalitarian dictatorship that I wouldn't have been killed by or jailed in before I was twenty. I think I'd want to leave by any means, too!

3) The guy's got moxie. This isn't something most people would be able to pull off, and frankly I'm impressed. He wants to make a refugee claim? Go for it: if he qualifies, let him in. I like people who have this kind of drive!

It will be interesting to see what the reaction to this will be Down South (CNN broke the story first): I fully expect hyperbolic panic about terrorism and how weak Canada is on threats coming from outside their borders and a resurgence of that old canard about the 9/11 terrorists coming from Canada etc etc etc. How much attention do you think will be paid to the possible accomplice, an American citizen who gave him the boarding pass and Aeroplan card.

Clearly, we're going to have to subject people who claim to be American citizens to greater security measures. For their own protection, you understand.


posted by Thursday at 10:47 am


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