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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disguised man boarded Air Canada flight: report
CNN reports on Canada Border Services Agency alert about ‘unbelievable case of concealment’

5 November 2010
The Globe and Mail

It wasn't until several hours into the long flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver that Air Canada staff knew they'd been had.

A passenger went into the bathroom elderly and white – his face wrinkled, eyes scrunched nearly shut, only a few wisps of white hair clinging to his otherwise bald scalp – and emerged a fresh-faced, young Asian.

The revelation of the “unbelievable case of concealment” is contained in a confidential intelligence report from the Canada Border Services Agency obtained by American news channel CNN and posted on its website ( Thursday night.

While the man's motives for disguising himself to get on the plane aren't explicitly laid out in the document, it notes that he filed a refugee claim as soon as he arrived in Canada.

The memo, dated Nov. 1, says the breach happened last Friday.

The unidentified man apparently swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old American citizen in Hong Kong, and donned the disguise, which consisted of a silicone mask that covered his head, neck and part of his chest. He topped it off with a brown cardigan and apple cap, and a pair of spectacles.

After the mid-air switcheroo, Air Canada security alerted CBSA officials, who pulled the man aside after the plane landed, it says. The man, who quickly filed a refugee claim, is said to have admitted the ruse to officials, and even donned the mask for them to demonstrate.

“The subject donned the 'disguise' for [border services officers] and they noted that he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person,” the memo says.

It is not clear from the report how he got past passport control.

Officials from Air Canada and the CBSA could not be immediately reached for comment.

9,950 Posts
Man boarded flight as senior, exited as 20-year-old: Report
Published On Fri Nov 05 2010

A "silicone type" disguise allowed a young man on a flight from Hong Kong to transform into an elderly white man, according to a Canada Border Services Agency alert.
Liem Vu Staff Reporter

An Air Canada flight chartered from Hong Kong to Vancouver has produced an “unbelievable case of concealment” worthy of spy film lore.

The incident – which occurred on Oct. 29 according to a Canada Border Services Agency intelligence alert obtained by American television news network CNN - involved a man boarding the plane as a cardigan-clad, Caucasian senior only to emerge hours later as an Asian male in his 20s.

Suspicions were aroused after Air Canada staff noticed that the imposter had younger looking hands, a strange sight when compared to his visibly wrinkled visage.

The man reportedly took off his disguise mid-flight in the washroom.

According to the document, dated Nov. 1, the man was escorted off the aircraft upon arrival by border officials. He later made a claim for refugee protection.

The alert said the man donned the disguise for Border Services officials who “noted that he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person.”

It is alleged that the man claimed to have only one bag, but the flight crew presented two additional pieces of luggage with one containing a silicone face and neck mask, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan.

The man is believed to have swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old American passenger, said the alert. However, there were no immediate details as to why.

An Aeroplan card was used along with the pass to board the plane, the document noted.

Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Bourque confirmed an individual was intercepted trying to enter Canada under false pretenses on board an Air Canada flight.

She told CNN that the man was currently being detained by the CBSA and that he will face an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing.

The identity of the man has not been made public.

Chinese citizens require a visa to enter Canada. American citizens do not.

With files from The Canadian Press

Disguised asylum-seeker's identity remains masked
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 05, 2010 12:17AM EDT
Last updated Friday, Nov. 05, 2010 9:02PM EDT

A mystery man who boarded an airplane in China has put a human face to the sorts of security breaches that bedevil officials at international airports. In the end, however, that face wasn’t even his own.

Two days before Halloween at Hong Kong International Airport, an undocumented Asian migrant, who appears to be in his early 20s, donned an elaborate silicone mask of an elderly Caucasian man, and used another man’s boarding pass to get on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver.

At a time when billions are spent screening air passengers for shoe bombs, bottle bombs and even underwear bombs, the fake-face ruse somehow worked.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told reporters Friday that federal officials “may need to step up our game” to prevent a repeat. Ottawa is now investigating the screening practices of Air Canada. A corporate spokesman cautions that “the investigation is ongoing and the facts are not established.”

The Canada Border Services Agency has called the incident an “unbelievable case of concealment” in an internal memo since made public.

The agency has sent 56 agents abroad to tutor foreign airport-security officials and airline employees in the art of spotting dodgy documents. The CBSA boasts that these “migration integrity officers” are world-class – and credits them for keeping 5,000 suspect passengers at foreign airports from getting on Canadian-bound planes each year.

There are holes in the system though: One border guard said Friday there is only one such agent in China, splitting his or her time between Beijing and Hong Kong. This couldn’t be confirmed as the CBSA won’t say where its foreign agents are stationed.

The Air Canada employees who were minding the jet-way at Hong Kong International Airport on Oct. 29 would seem to be in need of some serious refresher courses. The CBSA memo says that when the masked man was asked for identification, he showed an Aeroplan card, which contains no photo. And his boarding pass? It was allegedly garnered from an unidentified 55-year-old American, who may have slipped him the ticket at the airport. It is unclear when the man first donned the mask.

The man is now in a Vancouver holding cell as Canadian officials are trying to ascertain his identity. Database checks have revealed no serious red flags. But “it’s a thin, thin file,” said one government official.

So who is the masked man? The public may never know.

On Nov. 8 there will be a hearing to review his detention, but he is likely to become a refugee claimant and his identity will then be shielded by law. He’ll likely be freed within a few months, as federal adjudicators consider his claim for asylum in Canada – a process that usually takes years.

What went wrong:

Passenger screening: A young man in disguise boards an international flight at a major airport, apparently with only an Aeroplan card as identification. Experts say carriers bear the ultimate responsibility for such snafus, and can face heavy fines.

“Migration integrity officer program”: The Canada Border Services Agency says it has a world-class program with 56 officers posted to 46 foreign cities to train airlines and airport security on how to spot suspicious passengers. There is at least one of these officers in China, but the disguised traveller slipped through undetected.

What went right:

Savvy flight attendants: It was in-flight staff who first noticed something was amiss. Their first clue: The “elderly” passenger had young-looking hands. After he removed his disguise in the bathroom mid-flight, the flight crew notified officials.

A federal investigation: Transport Canada is investigating whether Air Canada broke rules requiring the airline to verify passengers’ identities before letting them board.

With reports from Jill Mahoney, Brent Jang and Ian Bailey

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm curious what was the whole sequence of events. Did he have a mainland passport and exit as a valid person on a mainland-bound flight, while holding a second boarding pass for Canada?

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The strange case of air age
F/X experts admire mask used to deceive Air Canada security

Cathal Kelly Toronto Star
With files from Canadian Press
6 November 2010
The Toronto Star

The prosthetic mask used by a refugee claimant to fool airline officials in Hong Kong looks like professional work, according to prosthetics F/X experts.

"I would think he either made it himself or had it made for him," said Jez Gibson-Harris, the principal of special-effects studio Crawley Creatures.

On Oct. 29, the unnamed man boarded a Vancouver-bound flight disguised as an elderly Caucasian man. At some point in mid-air, he went into a bathroom and emerged as a young Asian man.

Authorities later said they were tipped to his remarkable disguise by his hands, which looked too young for the rest of him.

He apparently had an accomplice: a 55-year-old U.S. citizen who slipped him a boarding pass once he'd passed security. The man passed a security check at the gate using the boarding pass and an Air Canada Aeroplan card as ID.

After initially denying the disguise, the man reportedly admitted to the ruse under questioning. He left two carry-on bags on the plane - one filled with clothing, including a hat, glasses and a brown cardigan, the other containing the mask.

"The matter is still under investigation by the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency)," said Air Canada spokesperson John Reber. The airline would not comment further as the incident remains an open case.

A spokesman in Ottawa did acknowledge, however, that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has been told by CBSA officials of the "successful interception of an individual, on Oct. 29, attempting to enter Canada under false pretenses (on an Air Canada flight)."

"We can also confirm that the subject is currently in CBSA detention," said Chris McCluskey, the spokesman for Toews. "As for operational security matters, and matters before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), I cannot help you with further comment."

On Friday, Air Canada confirmed to The Canadian Press that a passenger on flight AC018 had been met by border services officials in Vancouver and awaits an Immigration and Refugee Board.

All passengers flying to Canada from Hong Kong undergo multiple security checks before arriving at the Air Canada gates, Reber said. Those checks include the Chinese government-run Hong Kong passport control.

The Conservatives say there'll be a full investigation into how a young man got onto the flight in disguise.

Effects experts say a mask of this quality would start with a "lifecast" of the man's head. From that "negative" image, he would sculpt a "positive" bust of his own skull and face.

Then he would have had to build the mask around the bust using silicone. The mask would be painted to achieve a lifelike hue. Eyebrows, eyelashes and the hairs on the head would have to be individually punched through the mask.

"It's quite tricky," said Gibson-Harris, a 25-year veteran of the special-effects business who's worked on TV shows such as TheLost World and movies such as AnAmerican Werewolf in Paris.

"The mask used here was obviously a silicone mask that had been expertly created over a cast of a person's head, giving it its form-fitting shape," said Paul Jones, a Toronto-based special-effects expert who's worked on The Resident Evil series amongst other sci-fi and fantasy features.

"The softness and 'deadened' quality of the silicone would allow movement of the person's face inside the mask to translate to the outer skin without the aid of glue."

Could the mask be purchased in a store?

"I wouldn't think so," Gibson-Harris said. "They're difficult to make. It would be very expensive."

According to officials, the man appeared at the gate in the disguise. Presumably, that meant putting it on somewhere inside Hong Kong International Airport. A bathroom stall, perhaps.

How hard would that be with a tight-fitting, one-piece mask?

"If it is just a slip-on mask - and that's certainly what it looks like in the picture - it's thin," said Gibson-Harris. "Silicone is quite pliable. With a little bit of talcum powder in it, it would pull on quite easily."

Part of the brilliance of the disguise is in its details. The mouth appears to be sealed closed, meaning no glue would need to be applied to the man's lips in order to keep the mask in place. The eyes are deeply wrinkled, nearly slits. Thick glasses further obscure the eyes.

"Just having a convincing mask is not enough," said Jones. "A performance is also needed."

The CBSA release said the man was "mimicking the movements of an elderly person."

The performance was crucial since, to Gibson-Harris' eye, the mask itself is not superior quality.

"There's quite a sheen to it, which is slightly unnatural. The folds of the skin, especially on the forehead, to my eyes they look coarse and sculpted. But it obviously fooled quite a few people," Gibson-Harris said. "Not doing the hands - that was the big mistake."

The toughest part of the assignment might have been simply carrying on with it while on board.

"It'd be awfully hot under there," Gibson-Harris said. "Like 'boil in the bag.'"

With files from Canadian Press

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
US Homeland Security chief says old-man disguise used by airplane passenger raises cocerns
7 November 2010

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday that the case of a young Chinese man who boarded a flight to Canada elaborately disguised as an elderly white male raises concerns about a security breach that terrorists might exploit.

Authorities have not suggested any terrorist link to the case of the man who boarded the Air Canada flight in Hong Kong on Oct. 29 wearing a remarkably detailed silicone mask to make him look like an elderly man. An internal intelligence alert from the Canadian Border Services Agency shows before-and-after photos, and says the man removed the mask in a washroom mid-flight.

Air Canada confirmed a passenger on board flight AC018 had altered his appearance and had been met by border services officials in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Chinese man is seeking refugee status in Canada in what border officials are calling an "unbelievable case of concealment." Canadian authorities did not release any information about the passenger's identity.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews expressed concern over the broader implications of an elaborately disguised man being able to board a commercial airliner under an assumed identity.

"That issue is very troubling," Toews said.

Napolitano expressed similar concerns on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum about the use of such "an elaborate mask."

"I saw the pictures. I don't have the actual operational details, but I think these are further illustrations of different tactics and techniques used," Napolitano said.

Napolitano said she didn't know any details of the case beyond what was reported in the media.

"I understand it's under investigation, as it ought to be," she said.

Napolitano said the U.S. was actively trying to protect air travelers, including working on an agreement with the European Union that would provide advance information on airline passengers.

"Good security is layered security. It begins with information sharing, information collection . . . good screening and scanning techniques at the airport gates themselves," she said.

A Canadian government official gave the alert to The Associated Press. The official provided the document Friday on condition of anonymity as the official was not authorized to release it publicly. The official said a U.S. passport was involved.

The passenger was seen at the start of the flight as an "elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young-looking hands," the Canadian Border Service bulletin said. Later in the flight, however, "the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian-looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s."

The document says the man had a bag that 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 imposter's makeover was much more elaborate than in previous cases, where suspects simply tried to match the hairdo, clothing and height of the passport holder they are trying to imitate, Hong Kong Undersecretary for Security T.K. Lai told reporters in Hong Kong on Saturday.

"This is a brand new method," Lai said.

The Canadian bulletin said the man later admitted to officials that he had boarded the flight with the mask on and had removed it several hours later. It says they believe the man and another man performed a boarding pass swap.

A Hong Kong official told the AP that the imposter is a mainland Chinese citizen who was transiting through Hong Kong. The official declined to be named because she is not authorized to release the information.

The official said the Chinese man likely escaped detection because he used his own travel documents and a genuine boarding pass when clearing immigration checkpoints in the southern Chinese city, then swapped travel papers with a collaborator in the transit lounge just before boarding the flight to Vancouver.

The man's case is being handled by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, but a spokesman for the agency declined comment.


Associated Press Writer Min Lee contributed to this report from Hong Kong.

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Human smugglers link to masked passenger
The Standard
Monday, November 08, 2010

The young man from the mainland who fitted himself out in an old-man silicone mask to board a Canada-bound flight at Hong Kong International Airport could have been helped by human smugglers.

That was the thinking last night as investigators continued to puzzle about how a transit passenger from Fujian beat airport security and airline checks in his role as an aged Caucasian.

"It's unlikely this method of concealment and documentation is something he dreamed up on his own," lawyer Lee Rankin told Canada's Postmedia News agency.

The man boarded an Air Canada flight at Chek Lap Kok on October 29 but took off his mask during the flight and then waited to be arrested and a chance to ask for asylum.

Canada's Border Services Agency told how some passengers became suspicious during the flight of the old man with "young-looking" hands.

That was when the man with deep wrinkles - he looked well into his 70s - walked into a toilet. He emerged minutes later as a young Asian man. Some passengers, in fact, fretted about what had become of the old man.

Crew members were alerted and radioed ahead about the quick-change artist. He was arrested on landing at Vancouver, where he sought asylum.

Hong Kong and Canadian officials remain tight-lipped about how he could have worked the scam.

One school of thought is that he didn't need to go through immigration as a transit passenger and had only to get past the boarding gate to make it on to the Air Canada flight.

According to the intelligence report, the imposter obtained the Canada- bound boarding pass in a departure area from a 55-year-old man from the United States.

Rankin, who pointed to traffickers at work, said 99.9 percent of illegal immigrants to Canada rely on smugglers.

On possible problems in Hong Kong, SAR officials have said that plainclothes security officers are stationed at the airport to spot fraudulent travelers.

Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews downplayed the incident, saying that - aside from the silicone mask - there was nothing unusual about the case.

US Homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano said terrorists might exploit the loophole to carry out attacks.

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Air Canada flight attendants ignored passenger's warning about masked man:CNN
9 November 2010
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Air Canada flight attendants ignored repeated warnings about a passenger who looked suspicious, a woman who was on the flight that a young Chinese man had boarded disguised as an elderly white man told CNN on Monday.

Nuray Kurtur-Balas told the U.S. network that the plane was still on the tarmac in Hong Kong when she got a good look at the man and immediately suspected something was wrong.

``It wasn't a real person's skin. It looked plastic,'' she told CNN. ``I said to the flight attendant, 'Did you check out that person's hands? They seem like they belong to a 20-year-old kid. There are no wrinkles.''

Kurtur-Balas, who had been in Hong Kong on business and was flying home on her 35th birthday, said the flight attendant simply remarked 'good observation.'

When no action was taken she said she went to a second flight attendant, told him she was nervous about the flight, and asked if her concerns had been checked out.

She said the attendant told her 'We'll look into it,' but again nothing was done.

Finally, she said, she spoke to a third flight attendant before the plane left Hong Kong, but was told the man had done nothing wrong, and might, in fact, have a medical condition.

``I was thinking the whole time he was wearing a mask,'' Kurtur-Balas said. ``Why would somebody wear a mask if they have a medical issue?'' ``I was thinking he was going to blow the plane up.''

Kurtur-Balas said she kept her iPhone close so that she could call her family if something terrible happened.

The man removed his silicone mask after the flight took off, and the air crew then alerted authorities in Vancouver.

The 22-year-old Chinese national was arrested when the flight landed.

He remains in detention in Vancouver and is seeking asylum in Canada.

Air Canada declined to comment on Kurtur-Balas' allegations, saying the company is currently conducting an internal investigation with the airline's staff as well as with SATS, the company that performs passport verification at the boarding gate and passenger boarding services on behalf of Air Canada in Hong Kong.

At an immigration hearing in Vancouver on Monday, the lawyer for the asylum seeker requested the media be banned from the hearings in order to protect his client and the man's family.

The immigration adjudicatory said she would release her decision about allowing media access on Wednesday, the same day the unnamed refugee claimant is expected to be back before the board for a hearing.

Kurtur-Balas contacted CNN after reading an article about the incident.

She said she told her husband all about the bizarre incident when she got home, but said he didn't believe her.

She said he told her ``'You are watching too much 'CSI' and 'Criminal Minds.'''

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
November 8, 2010
'Masked man' faces immigration panel
By CBC News

A detention hearing for an Asian man who boarded an Air Canada plane disguised as an elderly Caucasian was bogged down Monday because his lawyer is trying to ban the media, including the Chinese media, from the B.C. courtroom.

A detention review hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether a young Asian man, who boarded an Air Canada plane in Hong Kong disguised as an elderly Caucasian, will remain in custody has been adjourned.

Proceedings for the unidentified man, who made a claim for refugee status after he was taken into custody in Vancouver on Oct. 29, were bogged down Monday because his lawyer is trying to ban the media, including the Chinese media, from the courtroom.

Dan McLeod argued Sing Tao, Ming Pao and the World Journal are controlled by China's government, which he said has a bad track record on human rights.

"This is an extremely unusual case in that there has been an extremely serious and potentially dangerous leak about a refugee claimant by an unknown Canada Border Services official," McLeod told the adjudicator.

Reporters for all three Chinese-language media outlets opposed the ban and denied their organizations have any ties to the government. Canadian media also opposed an overall ban on the hearings.

McLeod said if the immigration adjudicator refused his requests for either a full media ban or a ban on the Chinese media, then the board should at least take steps to protect the man's name and anything else that could identify him or his family.

The adjudicator said she would release her decision about allowing media access on Wednesday, the same day the Asian man is expected to be back before the board for a hearing.

Lee Rankin, the lawyer provided to the man when he was first taken into custody, said it's unlikely he would be released from custody until his genuine documents arrived in Canada and were evaluated by Canadian security officials, which could take as long as one month.

Rankin also told CBC News on Sunday the man might have used a fake U.S. passport to board the plane but that information was "very preliminary."

"He probably had somebody else's passport or inauthentic identification, and that method is being used every day to get people on planes to Canada," he said.

"What it shows you is a large part of the security apparatus that's been set up is for show and doesn't appear effective in preventing people from entering Canada not using their own proper identification, identities and passports."

During the 12-hour flight, Air Canada security alerted the Canada Border Services Agency to a passenger who "was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young-looking hands," the agency's statement said.

"During the flight, the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian male that appeared to be in his early 20s."

On Monday, CNN reported that a female passenger on that flight tried to warn the crew about the man's disguise three times but said she was rebuffed. But Air Canada said the crew took the necessary measures to ensure border security officials met the flight on arrival.

Rankin accused Canadian authorities of "playing dirty" with the man, violating his privacy and potentially jeopardizing his safety.

Rankin said revealing the man's photo, even with his eyes blacked out, could expose him to risk in China, a country that "doesn't appreciate its nationals embarrassing them."

In another development, the CBSA is investigating how news about the masked man was leaked.

An internal agency alert about the incident was leaked last week to CNN, which broadcast photos of the man in his elaborate silicone mask and another undisguised photo with part of his face blocked out.

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hong Kong Airport Security Loses Face
8 November 2010
Posted on The Wall Street Journal Online's China Real Time Report blog at

Authorities are still scratching their heads over how a young Asian man wearing a silicone rubber mask of an elderly white man got through airport security.

A Nov. 1 confidential intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency, first obtained by CNN, said it was believed the man swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old U.S. citizen to board an Oct. 29 Air Canada flight to Vancouver from Hong Kong. The masked Asian passenger boarded with an Aeroplan frequent-flier credit card, the report stated. Canadian press have reported his trip originated in China's Fujian province.

Protocol at Hong Kong International Airport dictates passengers in transit undergo security screening and makes individual airlines responsible for checking boarding passes and travel documents at the boarding gate, said an Airport Authority Hong Kong representative.

Air Canada said there are multiple identity checks for transit passengers in Hong Kong, including a final passport check at the gate. The airline said it is investigating the matter, but spokeswoman Angela Mah insisted "the rumor that Air Canada staff at the boarding gate accepted an Aeroplan card as proof of identification in lieu of passport at the gate is totally unfounded."

The border agency's alert said the man resembled an elderly Caucasian man both in physical appearance and movements but was observed to have young-looking hands. Once in flight, he went to a plane washroom and emerged without disguise as an Asian man, apparently in his early 20s. Escorted off the plane by a Border Services officer in Vancouver, he made a claim for refugee protection and remains in custody.

9,950 Posts
Release denied for Chinese migrant who came disguised as old man
Published 30 minutes ago

Terri Theodore The Canadian Press

—A young Chinese refugee claimant who boarded a plane to Canada two weeks ago disguised as an old man was ordered back into custody Wednesday after an immigration adjudicator rejected his request to live at a Toronto boarding house.

Daphne Shaw Dyck of the Immigration and Refugee Board in Vancouver concluded the man’s identity hadn’t been firmly established, and she said the proposal to send him to a boarding house was too vague.

“For today, your detention will continue on the grounds identification has not been established,” she told him over a phone connection as a Mandarin interpreter translated.

That decision came after Shaw Dyck rejected a request from the man’s lawyer to ban reporters from the hearings, including an unusual request to keep several Chinese-language newspapers out.

The sensational story has been reported the world over, complete with pictures of a young Chinese man alongside a photo of his disguise, a silicon mask that made him look like Mr. Magoo.

Those photographs, in which the young man’s face is visible except for a black line covering his eyes, prompted his lawyers’ request that his refugee hearings be held in secret.

The pictures were included in an internal alert from the Canada Border Services Agency that was leaked to CNN. The alert described it as an “unbelievable case of concealment.”

“I’m greatly surprised details of his case were released by Canada Border Services Agency,” Shaw Dyck said.

The man’s duty counsel, Dan McLeod, told Shaw Dyck the pictures have already put his client and his family back home in China in jeopardy, and more media coverage could increase that risk.

“In the end, this whole proceeding comes back to the safety of the individual,” McLeod told the adjudicator in urging her to ban reporters.

McLeod said the adjudicator must balance the rights of the media with the rights of the refugee claimant.

“Frankly, I think when it comes down to an individual’s right to live, sometimes the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.”

McLeod argued all media should be banned. But he said if that failed, he wanted reporters from two Chinese-language newspapers, Sing Tao and Ming Pao, to be kept from the hearings.

McLeod told Shaw Dyck that two people connected to Sing Tao’s parent company in Hong Kong have links to China’s Communist Party. The newspaper is also partly owned by Torstar Corp., which owns the Toronto Star.

Sing Tao’s lawyer, David Sutherland, called McLeod’s request racist, arguing that just because two Chinese party officials may be linked to the newspaper’s ownership doesn’t mean its reporters are foreign spies.

“To suggest the paper is controlled by the Communist government is insulting, false, unfounded and it’s essentially embarrassing,” Sutherland told the hearing.

Shaw Dyck rejected an all-out ban, but imposed a sweeping publication ban that covers the man’s name and anything that could identify him, including where he was born and where his family lives in China.

“A public hearing would place this person and his family and associates in China at risk,” she said.

She ruled that even though the man’s picture has been leaked to the media and widely published around the world, his identity hasn’t been totally exposed.

The adjudicator was told that when the young man arrived in Vancouver on the Air Canada flight, he had People’s Republic of China identification with him and gave it to border officials.

But David Macdonald, the lawyer representing the federal government, said while officials thought the identification was authentic, they were still waiting for more identification to be sent from his family in China.

Shaw Dyck said there was no question the man was cooperating fully with officials and there has been reasonable progress in confirming his identity, but he’ll remain in custody for now.

The man is scheduled to appear again before the board on Dec. 8, but he could appear before then if his identity has been confirmed.

9,950 Posts
Chinese media in Canada say that the man's ultimate destination was Toronto, not Vancouver. He even had a contact in Toronto who was willing to provide accomodation for him.

Good news is that the publication ban on Sing Tao and Ming Pao were rejected. To think the Mainland Chinese Government would even care about such a small case :lol: The man's lawyer is totally paranoid.

Man who used disguise on plane must stay in custody for a month, IRB rules
Sunny Dhillon
VANCOUVER— From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 7:51PM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 11:50PM EST

A man who boarded a flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver while wearing a mask, triggering concerns about airline safety and border services leaks, has been ordered to stay behind bars for another month.

The Immigration and Refugee Board ruled Wednesday that the man, who was on an Air Canada flight disguised as though he was elderly, must remain in custody until his identity has been definitively established.

That decision went against the wishes of the man’s counsel and capped a lengthy set of hearings that included the challenge of a media ban specifically aimed at two Chinese-language outlets.

Daphne Shaw-Dyck, the board’s adjudicator, ruled the Ministry of Public Safety has made reasonable efforts to establish the man’s identity since he boarded the flight on Oct. 29.

She shot down suggestions from the man’s counsel that the ministry was dragging its heels by waiting for secondary documentation after a national identification card was verified. Ms. Shaw-Dyck also refused a request to release the man to a Toronto residence while his refugee claim is processed.

“At this early stage of the proceedings, it being a little over a week and a half since you arrived in Canada, it seems to me that there has been reasonable progress in your case,” she told the man, who listened to the detention review via translated teleconference.

His next hearing has been scheduled for the refugee board’s downtown Vancouver office on Dec. 8.

The detention review itself was far shorter than another hearing, this one on media access to the case. It started on Monday and continued Wednesday afternoon.

Daniel McLeod, one of the man’s duty counsel, asked the refugee board earlier this week to ban some Chinese media – if not all reporters – from the proceedings, citing articles that said Sing Tao, Ming Pao and World Journal are influenced by the Chinese government.

Mr. McLeod said at the time he had “serious concerns” that his client’s safety would be jeopardized if the three Chinese-language outlets were allowed to cover the refugee hearings.

On Wednesday, Mr. McLeod dropped his request for World Journal to be excluded. But if the other two Chinese outlets couldn't be banned, he asked that all reporters be shut out.

Mr. McLeod said he was concerned that information from the proceedings could find its way back to Chinese officials, putting his client’s family at risk.

The man’s case made headlines around the world after an internal Canada Border Services Agency bulletin and several photographs of him were leaked. CBSA has launched an investigation into the incident. Mr. McLeod had harsh words for the border services agency, calling its actions “negligent.”

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said last week federal officials “may need to step up our game” to prevent the mask ruse from being duplicated. Ottawa is also investigating the screening practices of Air Canada.

David Sutherland, a lawyer representing Sing Tao at Wednesday’s hearing, urged the refugee board to open the proceedings to all reporters. He said the “cat is out of the bag” when it comes to the man’s case, since the photo with a black bar over his eyes has been seen all over the globe.

Mr. Sutherland called the allegations against Sing Tao “ridiculous” and laughed off the notion that its reporters are “foreign spies.”

The editor-in-chief of Ming Pao also appeared before the adjudicator Wednesday, stressing his publication’s independence.

Ms. Shaw-Dyck, citing the need to balance the media’s right to access and the claimant’s right to privacy, issued a publication ban for the case that’s similar to one issued for migrants who entered Canada in August aboard the MV Sun Sea.

The ban prevents the publication of any information that could serve to disclose the identity of the man, his family, or associates.

New photographs of the man are also banned, though the media is permitted to use the border services photo that’s already gone viral.

Ms. Shaw-Dyck also refused to bar reporters from the two Chinese-language outlets, saying the argument made by Mr. McLeod was “not persuasive.”

9,950 Posts
‘Masked man’ refugee claimant will move to Ontario following release
VANCOUVER— From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 6:54PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 9:52PM EST

When he’s finally released from behind bars, the man who entered Canada behind a mask knows what he’s going to do first – pick up the phone and call his worried family.

The man, who made international headlines for boarding a flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver in a mask that made him look decades older, was ordered released from custody on Thursday by the Immigration and Refugee Board. A family friend is expected to pay a $5,000 bond on Friday, after which the young man will move to Ontario while he pursues his refugee claim.

The man boarded an Air Canada flight on Oct. 29 wearing a silicone mask. A Canada Border Services Agency memo that featured images of him with and without the disguise was leaked to the media soon after. In the non-masked photo, his eyes were blacked out.

Daniel McLeod, the man’s lawyer, said his client would have been released long ago had the leak not occurred. The Canada Border Services Agency successfully argued at earlier refugee board hearings the man could be a flight risk under the influence of human smugglers.

But in her ruling on Thursday, adjudicator Anita Merai-Schwartz said any concerns the man would disappear once released could be allayed by the bond and certain release conditions. His name, age and identifying details cannot be printed because of a publication ban.

Mr. McLeod said his client was understandably pleased and relieved he’ll be able to leave the corrections facility where he’s been locked up.

“I asked him, ‘What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get out of here?’ and he said, ‘Talk to my parents.’ And he’s also looking forward to seeing his family friends, the people he’s going to be staying with.”

Mr. McLeod said his client has been “baffled” by the attention his case has received. He said the man has been “stoic” during his time at the jail.

Mr. McLeod said he recently represented another refugee claimant with a similar background to that of the masked man. The two were about the same age and from the same region. But the other refugee claimant’s case wasn’t leaked to the media, he said, and the person was released from custody as soon as his identity was established.

The man did not appear at Thursday’s hearing, but listened in via teleconference.

At a hearing last week, he told the refugee board he was coached to lie about his journey to Canada by the human smugglers who organized his trip. Eight people linked to the smuggling ring were arrested last month. The man’s family has already repaid his debt to the “snakeheads.”

In her ruling, Ms. Merai-Schwartz said the family friend with whom the man will stay could be a positive influence on him. She said it’s unlikely the man will go into hiding, since he now owes a debt to the family friend. She added “family honour” could be at stake.

Ms. Merai-Schwartz added there’s no evidence of criminality against the man.

“I do find that the proposed bondsperson, along with this offer of a $5,000 bond, constitutes a tie for you to the community of Canada and is a suitable alternative to detention,” she said. The man must also report to CBSA officials once he arrives in Ontario and register his address. He must report to CBSA once a week.

In its leaked memo, CBSA called the man’s arrival an “unbelievable case of concealment.”

“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 memo said.

A woman who was on the flight said Air Canada flight attendants ignored her repeated warnings about the man.

Canada must have the weakest immigration laws in the world. :eek:hno:

143,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Judge told of masked traveler in airport people-smuggling racket
The Standard
Thursday, September 08, 2011

Two airport ground service agents in Hong Kong identified stowaway mainlanders, including a young Fujian man in a silicone mask who entered Canada illegally, through special color-coded boarding passes, the District Court heard.

Chau Pak-kin, 26, and Chan Wing-chung, 27 - who worked for Singapore Air Terminal Services - pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain services by deception between March 1 and December 16 last year in connection with the alleged human smuggling ring.

They were responsible for checking documents at boarding gates in the airport's departure hall, and giving colored passes to distinguish different flights.

The prosecution alleges they conspired with "Ah Doi" and others by providing boarding passes to several people to get onto flights to Canada under false identities and using marker pens to distinguish targeted passengers.

The mainlander who sought refugee status soon after he arrived in Canada wearing the silicone mask of an elderly man was named only as person "X."

"The prosecution is not intending to prove the true identity of person X, but will reply upon the fact that a person used a false document to travel aboard this flight," said counsel for the prosecution Neil Mitchell.

The prosecution suggested "X" succeeded in entering Canada using the identity of a US man named Carey Henry Scott on October 29 last year.

Chau and his superior "Ah Doi" were involved in the man's boarding.

A mainland couple holding Singapore passports were intercepted by immigration officers earlier the same day as they queued up in a priority line reserved for the elderly and wheelchair-bound. Chan was in charge of their boarding passes.

The court was also told that two men who intended to board using forged travel documents were intercepted on May 16 last year. Chan had handled their boarding.

Chau told police after he was arrested he "just turned a blind eye" after "Ah Doi" said he could earn HK$20,000 for each stowaway allowed to board a flight.

The hearing continues today before District Court judge Albert Wong Sung-hau.
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