- Two flight attendants have been acquitted of smuggling marijuana into South Korea, but their return to Vietnam is delayed due to an appeal.
- The suspects were caught at Incheon Airport with over 50 cosmetic containers filled with the drug.
- This incident is part of a concerning trend of Vietnamese cabin crew being involved in drug trafficking.
Two flight attendants have been acquitted of allegedly smuggling marijuana into South Korea via Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN), according to information released by Vietnamese Police. Limited information has been shared about the identity of the two cabin crew members in question other than the fact that they are females.
While the two suspects have been acquitted, they have not yet been able to return to Vietnam as the case has been appealed. In early September, the pair of flight attendants were arrested at ICN for allegedly attempting to smuggle roughly $225,000 worth of liquid marijuana concealed in over 50 different cosmetic containers.
South Korean authorities indicated that the two suspects were apprehended at ICN. Their identities have not been released, and no information has been able to confirm which carrier employs the flight attendants.
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Since Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines are the two major Vietnamese-based airlines flying directly from Seoul, the suspects could likely work for one of the carriers. Nonetheless, despite the ruling, the pair has not been able to return home because of the case’s latest appeal.
The pair argued that they were completely unaware of the drugs they were transporting, alleging the cosmetics were only brought because an associate had requested them. According to South Korean authorities, the case was dismissed upon the court identifying the alleged drug courier.
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As a result of this incident, officials have issued stern warnings to cabin crew. In one statement issued to Viet Nam News, authorities warned crew members to be aware of the possibility of “being used by drug criminals for drug trafficking.” Airlines must also inspect their flight crews before and after each flight to ensure regulations are strictly followed, according to the agency.
A concerning trend
The September incident was not the first time this year in which Vietnamese cabin crew were found to be transporting illicit substances. As a result, it is unsurprising that the pair were arrested and detained in Korea, given the surprising rise in drug trafficking instances in the nation.
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In March of this year, four flight attendants flying for flag carrier Vietnam Airlines were arrested for transporting drugs on a flight from Paris. Eventually, authorities discovered over $424 million in cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine, leading to the cabin crew members’ immediate arrest.
Subsequent documents revealed that the flight attendants in question smuggled the drugs using 112 tubes of toothpaste, which were collectively used to transport over 18 pounds of narcotics. With such a similar resemblance to the cosmetic containers in question, it is unsurprising that South Korean authorities handled the situation seriously.
Source: Viet Nam News