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Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 1,460
Loc: Australia
customs report of baggage handlers smuggling
    #4238630 - 05/31/05 02:12 AM (13 years, 20 days ago)


Sydney Airport Corporation and Qantas have denied any knowledge of a classified Customs report revealing serious security breaches and illegal activity by staff.

The report, completed last September, uncovered evidence of alleged criminal dealings between groups of employees, and pointed to workers posing a terrorism threat, The Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

It revealed baggage handlers diverted bags containing large amounts of drugs from incoming international flights to domestic baggage carousels to avoid inspection by Customs officers.

A total of 39 out of 500 security screeners employed at Sydney Airport had a serious criminal conviction, the report said.

Another 39 had been convicted of minor matters, and 14 had questionable immigration status.

A Sydney Airport Corporation spokeswoman said the airport had no knowledge of the report, nor the two Customs operations behind it.

"We weren't privy to those reports, we weren't informed of those, we have no knowledge of the operations Tempest or Berlap," the spokeswoman said.

"Given that, we're not in a position to comment any further on the outcome of those reports."

The airport had publicly acknowledged there was more that could done to improve security and was working closely with Customs and other authorities, she said.

"We've been on the public record as saying what we've said about the baggage handling situation and we're involved in reviews about security at Sydney Airport, having acknowledged that there is more than can be done," she said.

Security camera black spots, outlined in the report as an area of concern, were received particular attention, she said.

"We're spending $2.8 million on CCTV footage in addition to the approximate $30 million we spend a year on security," she said.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the airline had also been in the dark about the report, and had sought an urgent Customs briefing.

She could not comment on the report's claim that Asian-recruited Qantas crew may be involved in the importation of drugs.

suicide a permanent solution to a temporary problem

Edited by spudamore (05/31/05 11:21 AM)

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Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 1,460
Loc: Australia
Re: customs report of baggage handlers smuggling [Re: spudamore]
    #4242730 - 06/01/05 02:31 AM (13 years, 19 days ago)

The head of Sydney airport admits Australia's largest terminal has a security problem.

But Sydney Airport Corporation executive chairman and chief executive Max Moore-Wilton said Australians should be careful not to vilify people who had already served time for a crime.

His comments follow a report in The Australian newspaper on Wednesday that a man who had served eight years in jail for drug smuggling was working at Sydney airport.

Mr Moore-Wilton said the man was only working as a trolley attendant.

"We have to be very careful that we don't go vilifying people who have actually served their time in our criminal justice system," Mr Moore-Wilton told ABC radio.

"I certainly don't in any way justify somebody that's had very serious criminal charges successfully proved against them working in sensitive areas, and we are making that position to the government.

"But at the end of the day it's the government and the public that have to decide that they are prepared for airports to be very special places (where people with criminal records don't work) because it doesn't apply anywhere else."

A secret Australian Customs Service report, completed last September and leaked to The Australian newspaper this week, found some Sydney airport workers had been involved in drug smuggling and stealing and some could pose a terrorist threat.

It also detailed serious security breaches and illegal activity by baggage handlers, aircrew, ramp and trolley workers, security screeners and cleaners.

Mr Moore-Wilton said he was very concerned about the report but steps were being taken to tighten security in Sydney's terminal.

Sydney airport already had announced it would spend a significant amount to upgrade surveillance in baggage handling areas, he said.

"I am not running away from the fact I think there is a problem and we need to do something about it very quickly," Mr Moore-Wilton said.

"I think it is incumbent upon the managements of airports, government and airlines to get public confidence back into the system, and we are working towards that."

suicide a permanent solution to a temporary problem

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