An Air Canada flight chartered from Hong Kong to Vancouver has produced an “unbelievable case of concealment” worthy of spy film lore.
The incident – which occurred on Oct. 29 according to a Canada Border Services Agency intelligence alert obtained by American television news network CNN – involved a man boarding the plane as a cardigan-clad, Caucasian senior only to emerge hours later as an Asian male in his 20s.
Suspicions were aroused after Air Canada staff noticed that the imposter had younger looking hands, a strange sight when compared to his visibly wrinkled visage.
The man reportedly took off his disguise mid-flight in the washroom.
According to the document, dated Nov. 1, the man was escorted off the aircraft upon arrival by border officials. He later made a claim for refugee protection.
The alert said the man donned the disguise for Border Services officials who “noted that he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person.”
It is alleged that the man claimed to have only one bag, but the flight crew presented two additional pieces of luggage with one containing a silicone face and neck mask, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan.
The man is believed to have swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old American passenger, said the alert. However, there were no immediate details as to why.
An Aeroplan card was used along with the pass to board the plane, the document noted.
Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Bourque confirmed an individual was intercepted trying to enter Canada under false pretenses on board an Air Canada flight.
She told CNN that the man was currently being detained by the CBSA and that he will face an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing.
The identity of the man has not been made public.
Chinese citizens require a visa to enter Canada. American citizens do not.