Woman who stowed away on Fiji Airways flight won’t be charged

Joyetter Feagaimaali'i
Apia, Samoa
Woman who stowed away on Fiji Airways flight won’t be charged A Fiji Airways A350 airplane is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France on Nov. 15, 2019.
Regis Duvignau/Reuters

A woman who stowed away on a Fiji Airways flight in a failed attempt to get to Australia won’t be charged, Samoa’s police commissioner said, putting the onus on authorities to explain the failure in airport security.

Flight attendants discovered the woman asleep in the aircraft’s lavatory after the Dec. 26 flight from Samoa landed in Fiji, Samoan police have said. She wanted to board a flight to Australia from Fiji without any documents and claimed, falsely, that she was an Australian citizen. 

“We are focusing more on how this 24-year-old woman skipped airport security and immigration,” Samoa’s Commissioner of Police and Prisons Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo told BenarNews on Friday. 

“I cannot fathom how she managed to get on the aircraft with a number of airport securities working on the day in question,” he said.

The woman’s actions, the police commissioner said, are covered by civil rather than criminal law in Samoa and the attorney-general’s office had recommended that authorities focus on how she evaded security.

Fiji Airlines has imposed a worldwide ban on the woman, Filipo said, which would prevent her from boarding any of its flights. 

Faleolo International Airport in Samoa has a handful of international flights each day that directly connect the Pacific island country of about 200,000 people to Fiji, Hawaii, American Samoa, Australia and New Zealand. 

In December, police had said that preliminary investigations found that the woman was bored with looking after young relatives and decided to go overseas.

“She's tired of staying home and looking after her nieces and nephews. In her statement to the police, [it] states she’s not allowed to go anywhere but rather stay at home and help out looking after her brother's children,” Filipo said. “The brother is in Australia for seasonal work and his wife left the kids.”


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