ASIAONE.COM — He looked spiffy in a pilot uniform, but the imposter failed to wing it and was deported once his flight reached the island from Hong Kong. The 18-year-old, who claimed to have South African blood, took a flight to Penang from Hong Kong, dressed in a pilot’s outfit on March 31. He is believed to have reached Penang the same evening.
A source from the Penang Immigration Department said the youth was handed over to the department by the airline’s staff after they found out that he was not a pilot. The youth, added the source, had violated conditions to enter Penang as a tourist. He was deported to Hong Kong on April 2.
It was learnt that the teenager, who had donned a pilot uniform – a white shirt with shoulder epaulettes, black long pants and a black necktie – was in the business class of the flight.
He also carried luggage tags and lanyard with the airline company’s logos of the flight he took. In an online report by the South China Morning Post dated May 3, it was stated that the youth had told the cabin crew that he had just finished manning a flight from San Francisco and requested to speak to the pilot after the plane arrived in Penang.
However, the flight attendants suspected something amiss when he ordered a glass of Bloody Mary cocktail, as alcoholic drinks were prohibited by the airlines for cabin crew and pilots on duty. The cabin crew grew increasingly suspicious when the youth could not furnish identification documents for confirmation, nor could he provide a correct staff number and pilot’s identification number. The youth was barred from getting near the cockpit and was handed over to Immigration officers upon arrival in Penang.
He later admitted that he was not a pilot and that the uniform and paraphernalia he used belonged to his stepfather who he claimed was a pilot with the airlines.
It was also reported that a thorough search was conducted on the aircraft overnight to ensure safety of the aircraft. This resulted in the next flight from Penang to Hong Kong to be delayed two hours the next morning. Hong Kong media reported later that the youth had previously drawn attention for taking the train in a pilot uniform.
In December last year, photos of the young man riding the train in a pilot uniform were shared online. Many netizens expressed their doubt that he was a real pilot, some even pointed out that his uniform was a bad imitation and featured some inaccuracies.
At press time, the airline company could not be reached for comment. Balik Pulau OCPD Supt Lai Fah Hin said no police report was lodged about the incident.