Aviation authority requires surprise crew luggage checks amid drug trafficking scandal

By Phan Anh   March 28, 2023 | 07:18 pm PT
Aviation authority requires surprise crew luggage checks amid drug trafficking scandal
Drugs found in toothpaste tubes that four Vietnam Airlines attendants carried in their hand luggage from Paris to HCMC, March 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Kien Tuong
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has requested airlines to ramp up regular and surprise luggage checks for crew members before and after flights.

CAAV recently issued a directive on anti-smuggling measures for aviation employees, following a drug trafficking investigation into four Vietnam Airlines flight attendants carrying 11.2 kg of drugs on a flight from France to Vietnam on March 16.

The Authority said the incident had attracted much public attention, impacted the image of national brands and showed potential risks of aviation security, HCMC Police newspaper reported.

On March 16, a security inspection at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City found hundreds of toothpaste tubes containing a total of 11.4 kg of drugs hidden within the carry-on luggage of the four flight attendants.

The attendants were promptly arrested after their shift aboard flight VN10 from France to Vietnam.

The suspects told the police they had agreed to transport the 60 kilograms of toothpaste tubes on the request of a person in France who indirectly made the request via another Vietnam Airlines employee.

The four attendants said they were paid VND10 million (US$422) to bring the tubes into Vietnam. All four denied knowing what was inside the containers.

The attendants were released on bail on Wednesday as investigators have so far determined they did not know that the toothpaste tubes they carried contained drugs. However, they are being considered for dismissal after abusing their positions to smuggle goods, and thus would not be able to work in any other aviation businesses in Vietnam.

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