Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

SAA flight attendants busted in Hong Kong for drug trafficking

The two SAA flight attendants are currently in the process of appearing before the courts in Hong Kong.

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South African Airways (SAA) has confirmed that two of its flight crew members have been arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly attempting to traffic drugs into the Asian country.

SAA drug peddlers: Here’s what we know

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Two of the bags found in the SAA flight attendants luggage. Image taken by Hong Kong Customs / Sourced from Rthk.hk

SAA’s spokesperson, Tlali Tlali noted, in a statement, that two SAA flight attendants were currently in the process of appearing before the courts in Hong Kong, for their alleged involvement in the drug trafficking of 18kg of cocaine that has an estimated street value of R45-million.

Based on the initial report that was published by a Hong Kong news site, Rthk.hk, the SAA flight attendants, a 39-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, were arrested between Monday, 24 September and Tuesday, 25 September.

According to the report, the woman was arrested at the Tsim Sha Tsui Hotel after 12kg of cocaine were recovered from two black plastic bags, allegedly found in her luggage.

Moreover, the male flight attendant was caught the next day. Officials found 6kg of cocaine in another black plastic bag stored in his luggage.

Based on details that have been verified by Tlali Tlali, the flight attendants touched down in Hong Kong, in two separate flights.

“We confirm that two of our employees have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of being in possession of drugs, the two employees were operating on two separate flights that were originating from Johannesburg to Hong Kong and were arrested one on arrival the other one following an investigation by customs officials in Hong Kong. Their matters have been before the courts and they remain in custody at the moment,” he said.

What we know about the flight attendants

The identities of the two alleged SAA drug peddlers have not been made public, as yet. However, according to a recently published IOL News report, one of them is believed to be part of the Presidential Crew that flew with President Cyril Ramaphosa to Geneva in 2018.

Furthermore, Tlali Tlali confirmed that the families of the SAA crew members have been notified of their arrest and that the national carrier has been working with the Hong Kong authorities to ascertain their involvement in the movement of the cocaine.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has also confirmed that it is aware of the arrests and that the South African Consulate in Hong Kong was providing the necessary consular assistance to the pair.

“The airline is aware that no finding of criminal involvement has been made by the courts out of the two separate arrests and will observe due process of the law, taking into account the rights of the employees concerned.

“SAA would equally like to emphasise that the airline remains intolerant of any criminality by anyone of its employees. The course of action the company may pursue will be informed by the company policy and the outcomes of the cases currently in court,” Tlali Tlali said.

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