A Malindo Air crewmember was arrested and accused of smuggling millions in heroin and methamphetamine from Malaysia to Australia. The 38 yr old crewmember was working with a Vietnamese crime syndicate operating in Australia. The drugs, totaling almost $20 million USD, were carried on the body of the crewmember.
Malindo Air wishes to affirm that one of our cabin crew was arrested on arrival at Melbourne International Airport by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on 7th January 2019. To date however, we have not had any official communication either with our staff or from the AFP on the said detention. We had nevertheless duly raised the matter with the Malaysian Consul General’s office in Melbourne upon learning of the said detention.
We have now learnt from the various media reports that the said cabin crew was arrested for allegedly being part of an international drug syndicate which used various airlines’ cabin crews for smuggling drugs into Australia. Malindo Air through the various media reports is also aware that cabin crew from other international carriers have since been arrested on similar charges over the last couple of months. Malindo Air stands ready to co-operate with all the relevant authorities be it in Australia or in Malaysia in this regard. The said cabin crew has also been suspended with immediate effect pending termination.
Given all that we know to date & based on the findings of our internal investigations, we are confident that this arrest appears to be an isolated incident arising out of a crew’s misconduct.
There are two things from Malindo Air’s statement that has me scratching my head: 1) Malindo Air has not spoken to the person detained nor the Australian Police. 10 days seems like a very long time to go without making contact with your employee who is detained abroad. 2) Malindo Air states that they are willing to cooperate with Malaysian and Australian authorities about their employee’s arrest, but mentions the arrests of crewmembers from other airlines. The other airlines do not have anything to do with Malindo Air employee’s arrest. Wrong place, wrong time Malindo.
I do not have sympathy for the person arrested. As flight crew, they have a duty to the airline and most importantly, to the passengers. The duty cannot be fulfilled properly if you are performing illegal activities. If you are smuggling drugs, maybe a life in the airline industry is not for you. The past few months have been rough for Lion Air, They do not need any more negative press.