Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Cannabis blunder at Tokyo airport
An unwitting passenger arriving at Japan's Narita airport has received 142g of cannabis after a customs test went awry, officials say.
A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security.
Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in.
Anyone finding the package has been asked to contact customs officials.
"This case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologize," said Narita International Airport's customs head Manpei Tanaka.
The customs officer conducted the test on a passenger's bag against regulations. Normally a training suitcase is used.
"I knew that using passengers' bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog's ability," the officer was quoted as saying.
"The dogs have always been able to find it before... I became overconfident that it would work," he said.
Japan has strict laws against drugs and possession of small amounts of cannabis can lead to a prison sentence.
I'm with some critics who would argue criminal charges are in order for the officials who negligently misplaced an illegal substance. What if someone were to collect their bags, stay in Tokyo overnight, and then fly through Bangkok or any other country, for that matter? In Thailand, the possession of drugs is a harsh, harsh offense... many people have been executed for distribution or possession of drugs. Remember the movie Brokedown Palace?
A good website about Thai laws, and prisons, which states: "Please don't even consider taking or dealing in drugs while in Thailand. Penalties are harsh even for minor drugs. You could easily get life or a death sentence. People serving long sentences are sent to the infamous Bang Kwang Prison which is far harsher than this one. You have been warned! Don't join the thousands of foreigners already in Thai prisons."