Two South African Airways (SAA) employees have been arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly trafficking cocaine with a street value of $2.9 million, an airline spokesperson confirmed.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali in a statement said the two cabin crew employees have been arraigned before a court in Hong Kong for their alleged involvement in trafficking the 18kg banned substance.
They were arrested after customs officers seized the suspected drugs in an operation targeting drug trafficking through staff and passenger channels at the Hong Kong International Airport.
The arrested staff were part of two separate SAA flights that operated from Johannesburg to Hong Kong.
“The airline appreciates that the matters are part of ongoing criminal investigations and may currently be before the courts – it is for that reason that SAA will not be making any elaborate comments on these matters until they have been finalised,” News24 quoted Tlali’s statement.
“Families of the employees concerned about what happened and that the South African Consulate-General in Hong Kong has been notified and is facilitating a process to secure legal representation for the two.
“The airline is aware that no finding of criminal involvement has been made by the courts out of the two separate arrests and will observe due process of the law, taking into account the rights of the employees concerned.
“SAA would equally like to emphasise that the airline remains intolerant of any criminality by anyone of its employees. The course of action the company may pursue will be informed by the company policy and the outcomes of the cases currently in court,” he added.
Hong Kong has recently intensified operations at its entry points to crackdown on drug trafficking.
Hong Kong local news reported a 39-year-old woman was arrested at a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel on Monday after just over 12 kilos of the drug was found in two black plastic bags by airport customs.
“Another six kilos were found in another black plastic bag on Tuesday, leading to the arrest of a 35-year-old man.”
“The suspected drugs, which Customs believe came from Africa, have a street value of about HK$23 million [$3m],” the report said.