- Two SAA flight attendants have been arrested after allegedly smuggling R45 million worth of drugs into Chin
- In a strange twist, the pair were busted on two separate occasions on different flights in September
- The attendants are facing the possibility of life imprisonment in light of the nation's harsh anti-drug laws
Two South African Airways flight attendants have been arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs (reportedly worth R45 million) into China.
News24 reports that a spokesperson for the airline has confirmed the incident that saw a man and a woman nabbed on suspicions of drug trafficking:
"The two employees were part of the crew on two separate SAA flights that operated from Johannesburg to Hong Kong. The flights landed in Hong Kong on September 22 and 24. In the incident involving the first flight, a crew member was initially detained for questioning on September 23, while in the second incident a crew member was arrested on arrival on September 24."
The pair were detained after 18kg of cocaine was allegedly found in separate stashes of 6kg and 12kg, reports IOL.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the suspects are facing the possibility of spending life in prison with the Chinese government imposing harsh policies against those found guilty of drug trafficking.
The Dangerous Drug Ordinance in the country noted the maximum sentence facing traffickers:
"Any person who traffics in a dangerous drug shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of HK$5,000,000 (R9.6 million) and imprisonment for life. [trafficking includes selling or giving away any amount of a dangerous drug]."
MCS, a law firm based in Hong Kong, revealed that cocaine was identified as a 'dangerous drug', explaining that courts examine the type and quantity of the drug involved in cases when determining sentences, with little regard for personal circumstances.
This paints a grim picture for the future of the suspects, should they be found guilty of the offence.
The state-owned airline declined to comment on details surrounding the arrests due to the ongoing investigation into the matter.
The families of the attendants have been informed of the situation, with the airline confirming that the consulate-general has been informed and is in the process of securing legal representation.
SAA reiterated that it remains intolerant of criminal conduct undertaken by any of its employees, but that they will await the outcome of legal processes before determining what action would be taken against the attendants.
The Department of International Relations also confirmed that they were aware of the incident but also declined to furnish further details on the arrests.
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