A lucrative people smuggling scam which operated between Hong Kong and Vancouver was thwarted in January when one of the illegal passengers gave the game away. Fellow passengers were shocked when an elderly Chinese man emerged from the airplane washroom as a young Asian man. According to Emirates 247
he had boarded the plane wearing a silicone mask which gave the appearance of an old man, but stripped off his disguise during the flight.
The passenger was from the Fujian province of China and had boarded the plane with the help of airport ground workers in Hong Kong responsible for boarding passes. He was taken into custody by the Canada Border Services Agency when he arrived in Vancouver seeking asylum.
Chau Pak-kin, 26, and Chan Wing-chung, 27, who both worked for Singapore Air Terminal Services in Hong Kong were arrested as part of a human smuggling ring. The Standard
reported that following his arrest Chan told police that his superior, Ah Doi, had promised he could earn HK$20,000 for each stowaway he boarded. The smuggled passengers were issued with color coded boarding passes which ground staff who conspired in the deception could identify to illicitly board those traveling under false identities.
Other passengers attempting to travel under false identities were intercepted by immigration officers on the same day as the young Asian man was discovered. A Chinese couple from the mainland using fake Singapore passports were caught in the queue reserved for elderly and wheelchair bound passengers.
reported that on Monday the Hong Kong district court found Chau Pak-kin guilty for his part in the human smuggling ring. Meanwhile the stowaway who gave the game away has been released from detention in Vancouver on a $5,000 bond.