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Air Canada Security Gaffe as Man Enters Flight Old, Leaves Young

Another Air Canada miss: A young man seeking asylum in Canada boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an old man.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/8/2010, 5:15 AM / Last Update: 11/8/2010, 8:23 AM

Canadian authorities arrested over the weekend a man of Asian origin who is suspected of boarding an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver disguised as an old white man, the BBC reported.

The Canadian border police said the man was wearing a silicon mask on his face and neck in what they described as “an incredible way of dressing up.”

Passengers on board the flight alerted staff when they saw an elderly man with very young-looking hands. He later emerged from the lavatory looking like a young man in his twenties. According to witnesses, when the man left the bathroom he was holding a bag containing his get up: a silicon costume for the head and neck of an old white male, a brown leather hat, glasses and a thin brown cardigan.

Intelligence officers who were called by the Canadian border police later published the before and after pictures of the man. “At first the man looked like an old white man, and when he left the bathroom he looked like a young Asian man in his early 20s,” they said.

“We can confirm that Canadian border police met a man who was on flight AC018 from Hong Kong to Vancouver on October 29. The matter still is under investigation,” said a spokeswoman for Air Canada.

According to reports, the man was looking for political asylum in Canada.

Airport security has been a concern as of late, particularly in wake of the bomb plot involving explosives transferred on an airplane from Yemen on the way to Chicago. Travelers in Israel were assured last week by Ben Gurion Airport management that everything is continuing as normal.  They explained that the recent events will not change the airports authorities' security procedures, which are renowned for their stringency and efficiency.

Air Canada recently made headlines when a video posted to YouTube showed face-covered women boarding a flight without presenting any identification or being checked by staff. Canada's Minister of Transportation John Baird later announced that a probe into the matter would be ordered.