Two SAA flight attendants have been arrested for allegedly smuggling R45 million worth of drugs into China. The pair were busted on two separate occasions on different flights in September. The attendants are facing the possibility of life imprisonment in light of the Asian nation’s harsh anti-drug laws.
According to News24 a spokesperson for the airline confirmed the incident
“The two employees were part of the crew on two separate SAA flights that operated from Johannesburg to Hong Kong. The flights landed in Hong Kong on September 22 and 24. In the incident involving the first flight, a crew member was initially detained for questioning on September 23, while in the second incident a crew member was arrested on arrival on September 24.”
The South African Airways (SAA) says two of its cabin crew employees have been arrested in Hong Kong on drug trafficking charges.
— Tuks FM 107.2 News (@TuksFMNews) October 3, 2019
The duo were detained after 18kg of cocaine was allegedly discovered in separate stashes of 6kg and 12kg.
Daily Afrika gathered that the suspects are facing the possibility of spending life in prison.
The Dangerous Drug Ordinance in the country notes that the maximum sentence for traffickers is life in Jail: “Any person who traffics in a dangerous drug shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of HK$5,000,000 (R9.6 million) and imprisonment for life. [trafficking includes selling or giving away any amount of a dangerous drug].”
This paints a grim picture for the future of the suspects, should they be found guilty of the offence.
The state-owned airline refused to comment on details surrounding the arrests due to the ongoing investigation into the matter. The families of the attendants have been informed of the situation, with the airline confirming that the consulate-general has been informed and is in the process of securing legal representation.
SAA reiterated that it remains intolerant of criminal conduct undertaken by any of its employees, but that they will await the outcome of legal processes before determining what action would be taken against the attendants.
The Department of International Relations also confirmed that they were aware of the incident but also declined to furnish further details on the arrests.