Television: A flying Goon Show, also known as Border Security

By Lin Ferguson

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Border security on the job
Border security on the job

The idiocy of some travellers is like watching a flying Goon Show. It's unbelievable what some people think is totally kosher and above board.

What some have stashed in their suitcases in the hopes of fooling security is madness.

It was a first solid watch of Border Security Australia on TV One on Monday for me.

So many of my friends, rellies and colleagues love it. They say it has the shock-horror element and highlights the well-honed nous of security staff who spot a suspect bag when it's still down the line.

Like their dogs, they sense the signs of unease lurking in some of the waiting passengers.

An older Chinese couple who were thrilled to be visiting family in Australia beamed at the officers as they plonked their cases down.

But their benevolent smiles swiftly turned to terror and consternation when they copped a stern look and a "you are joking" attitude from the attractive, well-groomed 40-something female customs officer as she flicked through the pages of her Mandarin phrase book.

The officer was bug-eyed to discover a veritable mini supermarket of food packed carefully in the three suitcases.

The couple were obviously planning a slap-up Chinese banquet for their kids and grandies on arrival.

There was everything from plastic boxes of home-cooked meat and noodles, bags of fresh fruit, tasty lumps of chicken, duck spices, rice, sweetmeats, and on and on it went

After a prolonged investigation during which the couple were constantly amazed that their foodie gifts were not welcome, it was settled, with most food thrown in the bin, and the couple were fined $350.

They left with a little bow, saying they would know for their next holiday.

An elderly Swiss man in his early 80s was stunned when a drug dog gave one of his cases a thorough once-over.

The old boy said that it wasn't actually his.

Seems a young woman bailed him at his Hong Kong hotel knowing he was flying to Melbourne and asked him to carry a suitcase of her clothes with him.

Her instructions were that "someone" would contact him to collect the suitcase at his Melbourne hotel.

"What was her name?" the young officer asked.

"I don't know," the old man said, "she didn't tell me."

So, turns out he's won the title of Australia's oldest drug mule, albeit unwittingly. More than a million dollars in narcotics were discovered in a false bottom of the case, and he had to appear in court, although it was plain to all that he was unaware of what he'd been asked to do. Bet he sticks with his own luggage from now on.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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