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Disguised man allowed to board flight to Canada

November 5, 2010

An effective disguise (CNN)

CNN has an exclusive today on a young Chinese man who boarded an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong disguised as an old white man. During the flight he removed the mask and then claimed asylum on landing in Canada.

No-one outside of the man concerned and the Canadian Border Security Agency knows much more about this right now. The disguise looks pretty impressive. And he had a boarding pass for a man of the correct age and origins. Of course some people will try to spin this as a ‘security threat’ story, or make it about terrorism. But really this says far more about the desperation of those trying to claim asylum faced with the rather kafkaesque logic of such systems, which tend to assume that claimants can use legal means to escape from situations where their life might be in danger…

Not everything is about the (still relatively small) risk of terrorism and nor should we overreact or organise or always try to reorganise our societies on the basis of that risk. Canada has a historically-deserved reputation as a humane refuge for those in need. This should be defended.

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