Thu, May 29, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Japanese customs officials apologize for planting drugs

DPA , HONG KONG

Japan said it was sorry for planting cannabis on an incoming Hong Kong passenger to test out one of its sniffer dogs, a news report said yesterday.

Embarrassed officials had to issue a public appeal to the passenger to return the 142g of cannabis after the dog failed to detect it and the customs officer forgot which bag the drugs were in.

The incident on Sunday, in which a passenger on a Cathay Pacific flight to Tokyo was targeted as he collected his suitcase from the airport carousel, brought an outcry from the Hong Kong government and tourism officials.

The drugs were recovered on Monday evening from the passenger in a Tokyo hotel, but it is not known if the passenger had been traced or whether he or she alerted officials.

In a statement to yesterday’s South China Morning Post, a customs spokesperson said the department felt “great regret and we offer our deepest apologies.”

The 38-year-old officer responsible for planting the drugs said he had carried out similar exercises before and the dogs had always found the drugs.

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