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Man in disguise boards international flight
November 5, 2010 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Man boards plane in elderly disguise (video) Canadian authorities have detained a young Asian man who was wearing a silicone head and neck mask making him appear to be an elderly Caucasian male.

First reported on CNN: Man in disguise boards international flight:

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert (PDF) from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an "unbelievable case of concealment."

"Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong," the alert says. "The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s."

"It is believed that the subject and the actual United States Citizen passenger (whose date of birth is 1955) performed a boarding pass swap, with the subject using an Aeroplan card as identification to board the flight," the alert said.
Aeroplan is a credit card where card holders can earn frequent flyer miles.
posted by KokuRyu (73 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
So he's a shanzhai old white guy?
posted by acb at 9:44 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why would you take the mask off mid-flight? Surely he didn't expect that move to go unnoticed.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


How the fuck is that supposed to pass for a guy born in 1955?
posted by gman at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2010


Secret Asian Man?
posted by chambers at 9:47 AM on November 5, 2010 [118 favorites]


I think he misunderstood the term 'security theater.'
posted by shakespeherian at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [29 favorites]


Now we have to ban all elderly men from airplanes, right?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


Nothing new here.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:50 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


The more I look at the mask, and how awful and assymetrical it is, the more genius it all becomes. The 1955 mistake and the fact that it's just a photo aside, the mask says "don't talk to me, I'm kind of old and fucked up, interacting with me will be uncomfortable, get off my lawn". It's really well done!
posted by hanoixan at 9:51 AM on November 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


My guess is that why he took it off was that he was freaking out or it was freaking itchy. Or he realized he'd never get past customs and actually wanted to be caught in the act so he could seek refugee status without trying hijinks at the border.

I give a lot of credit to anyone trying to do something like this, and wish we didn't have a world where people go to these kind of lengths to (presumably) try to find a better existence somewhere else.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2010


*asymmetrical. Assymetrical is a description for big ass things.
posted by hanoixan at 9:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


and on preview, yes me & my monkey, very Total Recall this trick.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:53 AM on November 5, 2010


Underneath the young Asian man is Tom Cruise.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


My guess is that why he took it off was that he was freaking out or it was freaking itchy.

According to news reports, he switched boarding passes with an older man ... and planned on the ruse.
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on November 5, 2010


So, when officers asked him the don the mask again for the photo, did they say: "Say cheese 'two weeks'"?
posted by dabitch at 9:56 AM on November 5, 2010


I hope they charge him with being AWESOME.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


Department of Homeland Security has responded by ordering all security agents to start trying to pull off people's faces before allowing them to enter the secure boarding area. Please add 30 minutes to your security wait.
posted by tittergrrl at 9:59 AM on November 5, 2010 [79 favorites]


There was a guy robbing banks wearing the 'black guy' silicon mask from the same company.

The future is here, but unevenly distributed, huh?
posted by leotrotsky at 10:00 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


This problem could have been solved in the airport if the security agents had been allowed to Pornoscan the dude's junk.
posted by phunniemee at 10:01 AM on November 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


The more I look at the mask, and how awful and assymetrical it is, the more genius it all becomes. The 1955 mistake and the fact that it's just a photo aside, the mask says "don't talk to me, I'm kind of old and fucked up, interacting with me will be uncomfortable, get off my lawn". It's really well done!

It's even better done if he steeped his clothes in diluted urine beforehand, for that distinctive incontinent-old-guy smell which would discourage closer attention.
posted by acb at 10:02 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to say that I find all of this very confusing.
posted by ob at 10:03 AM on November 5, 2010


Get one of your own!
posted by leotrotsky at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Secret Asian Man?

Authorities are reportedly scrutinizing the Bangkok-Vancouver flight for Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress.
posted by crapmatic at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


The masks were on mefi a week or so back.
posted by NoraReed at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2010


Underneath the young Asian man is Tom Cruise.

Hey, Tom Cruise totally passed for a Samurai, so.....
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2010


"unbelievable case of concealment"

The CBSA is not noted for frequent use of irony in its intelligence alerts, so I laud its use here: the word "unbelievable" can be read two totally different ways, and works just fine either way.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:10 AM on November 5, 2010


That's a wicked good mask, man.
posted by Mister_A at 10:10 AM on November 5, 2010


So basically, because of the metafilter post last week, I will know have to let airport security try and peel my face off before each international flight I take?
posted by Theta States at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2010


Why would you take the mask off mid-flight? Surely he didn't expect that move to go unnoticed.

I would.

Previously.

That mask doesn't look very real, however.

Canadian authorities are investigating an "unbelievable" incident in which a passenger...

I don't get too peeved about language usage, but I'm starting to hate the word unbelievable.

Neither this story nor the Giants winning the World Series is "unbelievable."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2010


Yeah, these masks are incredible (and super creepy).
posted by Happy Dave at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2010


THE GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES?!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Neither this story nor the Giants winning the World Series is "unbelievable."

The METS winning the World Series would have been...
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2010


The METS winning the World Series would have been...

Especially when the Mets removed their masks and revealed themselves to be the Hanshin Tigers.
posted by griphus at 10:17 AM on November 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


I am in awe of the way his shirt seamlessly works as as both "old man wearing dated clothing" and "young trendy guy in hipster retro."
posted by enn at 10:18 AM on November 5, 2010 [28 favorites]


I wish more people would board flights in unsettling latex masks. Really, that's all I've ever wanted.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2010


"How long will you be staying in Canada sir?"

"Two... weeeeks."
posted by benzenedream at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


So the balloons didn't work, Carl Frederickson?
posted by jerseygirl at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am in awe of the way his shirt seamlessly works as as both "old man wearing dated clothing" and "young trendy guy in hipster retro."

I actually thought exactly the same thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2010


Hey it's like Zelig in reverse.
posted by Menomena at 10:22 AM on November 5, 2010


What scares the hell out of me is the anchor on CNN saying, "This is something that Homeland Security will have to take countermeasures against." And he was serious.
posted by charred husk at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


his wife was unavailable for comment.
posted by boo_radley at 10:32 AM on November 5, 2010


Pistachio? Is that you?
posted by evilcolonel at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2010


So where's the old pasty dude who had to wear the Young Asian Hipster Mask and pretend to use his phone for two hours?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:40 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude shoulda consulted with a pro.
posted by dbiedny at 10:42 AM on November 5, 2010


I wonder how many times that mask company has been visited by the FBI and/or Homeland Security.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:44 AM on November 5, 2010


Alternate title for this post:

"My Old Man is Guy"

And the story should have been about how proud his mom was of his costume despite the heckling from the intolerant border guards.
posted by chavenet at 10:45 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude shoulda consulted with a pro.

Apparently Peter Sellers kicked off his career with a terrific old-guy impression in an agent's office.
posted by acb at 10:46 AM on November 5, 2010


====> Fletch reference <====
posted by shakespeherian at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2010


How the fuck is that supposed to pass for a guy born in 1955?

Old white guys all look the same.

Seriously though, how the hell does he get through as a man in his mid fifties? I guess they don't really look at DOB?
posted by ODiV at 10:51 AM on November 5, 2010


I'm just glad they finally caught that creepy Six Flags guy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't think your boarding pass has your DOB on it, does it? He swapped boarding passes, not IDs.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:55 AM on November 5, 2010


with the subject using an Aeroplan card as identification to board the flight

Which doesn't have a DOB on it, yeah.
posted by ODiV at 11:11 AM on November 5, 2010


I am really hoping that more details come out about this story. Because my brain is stuck on perma repeat of "But why?" until I know.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:23 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trash Humpers: The latest threat to national security.
posted by broken wheelchair at 11:24 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Underneath the young Asian man is Tom Cruise.

That's what the tabloids have been saying for years...
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


stoneweaver et al: Even for those of us who've been there, it's easy to forget that Hong Kong is part of China.

It makes a hell of a lot of sense to me that he was trying to get out of Hong Kong unnoticed by the local authorities there, but wanted to enter Canada legally. This is bolstered by the notion that he planned it with the guy whose boarding pass it was.

I've been the Caucasian with the U.S. passport traveling through Hong Kong. From that perspective I could see that it was a tremendously different experience from looking Asian and traveling through those borders.
posted by straw at 11:56 AM on November 5, 2010


You mean to say "Inside of that young Asian man is Tom Cruise."
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:59 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, someone born in 1955 is described as "elderly?" Please, nobody tell my mother. She might explode.
posted by sonika at 12:09 PM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Department of Homeland Security has responded by ordering all security agents to start trying to pull off people's faces before allowing them to enter the secure boarding area. Please add 30 minutes to your security wait.

So, we caught the old ghoul of the fairground. let's see who he really is! (NSFW)
posted by zippy at 12:14 PM on November 5, 2010


Coming soon: mandatory face pinching by TSA. Now they can feel us up, and then pinch our cheeks and tell us what good little passengers we are.

And just like that, we'll have finally assumed the rolls of molested children that they've been pushing us into for the last ten years.
posted by quin at 12:23 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


rolls of molested children

Worst. Pillsbury product. Ever.
posted by zippy at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2010 [26 favorites]


Amateur.

He should talk to this woman when he's ready to go pro:

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-12/chinese-woman-surgically-switches-fingerprints-evade-japanese-immigation-officers

...Lin, a 27-year-old Chinese national, paid around $14,600 to have the fingerprints on her left hand switched with the fingerprints on her right hand. Customs agents discovered the fraud when they saw scars from the surgery on Lin's fingers. ...
posted by de void at 1:20 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The masks were on mefi a week or so back.

So that's why I didn't recognize the place.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:54 PM on November 5, 2010


But...why did these two people exchange boarding cards / ID whatever?
posted by Omnomnom at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2010


Omnomnom I stand by my theory that a U.S. Citizen has a much easier time replacing identity papers and getting out of Hong Kong without being hassled than a Chinese dissident does. In fact, it sounds like the American still has his passport.
posted by straw at 3:39 PM on November 5, 2010


Why would you take the mask off mid-flight? Surely he didn't expect that move to go unnoticed.

As far as fucking up a detailed piece of subterfuge, just taking off your disguise halfway through is pretty novel. I'll give him that. And I guess it does speed things up.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 4:10 PM on November 5, 2010


So now we're gonna have to take off our faces before we get on a plane, right?
posted by sciurus at 4:27 PM on November 5, 2010


My guess is that he's fleeing China but can't show up in Canada with his passport and old man face. Hence taking off the mask on the plane, although honestly I would wait to get to a Vancouver airport bathroom.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:34 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So instead of using the mask he could just have swapped boarding passes with someone his own age? I don't understand how this is suddenly a non-obvious security flaw.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:17 PM on November 5, 2010


It seems like someone on the Air Canada side screwed up, although it's hard to say how this guy got through Chinese security, into the international departure terminal, and all the way to the gate.

He may have had a valid passport, an exit visa, and a ticket for another flight, and simply walked over to the Air Canada gate. Yet you're not supposed to be able to board the plane at the gate without showing your boarding pass and your passport.

My guess is that Air China, which code shares with Air Canada as part of their Star Alliance agreement (and performs services for Air Canada while in Hong Kong), must of have screwed up.

No offense, but Air China flight crews make even Air Canada look like superheroes.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:39 PM on November 5, 2010


Assymetrical is a description for big ass things.

Assymetrics measures things using the ass unit or, the UK equivalent, imperial bottoms.
posted by Dick Paris at 6:14 PM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


My guess is that Air China, which code shares with Air Canada as part of their Star Alliance agreement (and performs services for Air Canada while in Hong Kong), must of have screwed up.

HKG has an immigration counter as well, as I remember. Even if you get a boarding pass, you'll have to clear it with immigration as well, I'm thinking.

The other bit is about voices. I'm not sure how you can pull this off if you get 'interviewed' by immigration. Not even detailed stuff, normal chit-chat like 'So where in Vancouver do you live Mr Evans?" or something. Its not just accents, its also doing the older generation voice.

And yeah, my mom will fly offthe handle too if she sees a fifty-something person being called elderly.
posted by the cydonian at 6:17 PM on November 5, 2010


Seriously, how did he get on the plane? Any time I've boarded a plane in the last 5 years (somewhere in the vicinity of 50 flights, probably), I've been required to show my boarding pass *and* passport. And as metropolitan as Hong Kong is, I can't imagine they are THAT lax. That gate crew is going to be SO FIRED.
posted by antifuse at 8:01 PM on November 5, 2010


Underneath the young Asian man is Tom Cruise.

Get offa my lawn, youngster! Tom Cruise my assymetrical ass! That's Martin Landau under there, junior. The original.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:21 AM on November 6, 2010


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