Malindo Air Cabin Crew Caught Smuggling Drugs Into Australia

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Malindo Air is a carrier based in Malaysia, which is owned by Indonesian Lion Air Group. It’s name is a merging of ‘Malaysia’ and ‘Indonesia.’

The airline operates various flights to Asia, as well as some routes to Australia, including to Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth from Kuala Lumpur.


The Straits Times is reporting that (at least) two Malindo cabin crew members have been arrested by Australian Border Force officers as part of an international drug syndicate based in Melbourne, smuggling around USD$15 million worth of heroin and methamphetamine.

The cabin crew apparently smuggled these drugs by strapping them to their bodies.

The Straits Times states that the crew were operating flights to Melbourne and Sydney, but Malindo doesn’t operate to Sydney at all.

Malindo Air has issued a statement regarding the incident, saying that only one cabin crew member had been arrested, and adding that:

The said cabin crew (member) has been suspended with immediate effect pending termination. As a responsible international air carrier, Malindo Air does not condone any act that is criminal in nature or misconduct by our personnel.

Australian Border Force has said of international cabin crew:

They are subject to intervention at the border like everyone else and face significant penalties if they are found to be using their positions to attempt to circumvent our border controls.

Bottom line

This is like something out of a movie.

If you’ve ever watched the famous movie ‘Midnight Express,’ it shows how passengers used to smuggle drugs through airports decades ago, but I thought full body scanners would have put a stop to that.

I know cabin crew need to go through body scanners (where they are installed) but I would have thought these machines would have easily spotted where anything was strapped to the body?

(Featured image courtesy of Shadman Samee)

  1. I’m surprised by this too. My first time going through a body scanner they pulled me over and I found out that a gum rapper rolled up in a tiny ball set it off. How did they see this yet missed the drugs?!?!

  2. Is this person (or people) will get the death penalty like the Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg in China?

  3. Do they have body scanners in KUL?
    Because I didn’t saw any in MEL when I arrived there, and the other ones are just metal detectors, right?
    So it’s unlikely that they would accuse any drugs attached to their body.

  4. Hi James, I don’t think your map is entirely correct. The MEL and BNE flights go via Bali, and not nonstop from KUL.

  5. @Endre

    Australia, like most civilized countries, does not practice the evil of capital punishment. Even if this crewmember is ultimately extradited/deported to Malaysia or Indonesia after serving a sentence in Australia, it would only be with solid assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed.

  6. Having TSA Pre via Global Entry, I haven’t gone through a body scanner in years. I can’t imagine cabin crew regularly does either.

  7. @BrewerSEA
    Have you ever filled out an entry card in Singapore? They execute people for drug trafficking

  8. @Debit – boy here you go again! just can’t let go huh? I’ll call you Credit from now on. You are such an unhappy person…Credit.

  9. I have only seen body scanners on departure – not arrivals. The big question is – does Malaysia or Indonesia body scan crew members?

  10. Some Australian media have been reporting it as Malaysian airline crew implying Malaysian airlines not Malindo. Also this apparently been going on for several years! Malindo only been operating to Australia for a couple so who were they working for? Don’t know how they got thru tough drug security in Malaysia and transit stop in Indonesia. Australian police now targeting crews

  11. @ Michael

    Of course I’m aware of that, it’s printed in big red ink. Singapore is an authoritarian state. Most authoritarian states practice capital punishment or extrajudicial killings. That it is clean, pretty, and wealthy does not make it civilized.

    The United States is worthy of condemnation here too of course.

  12. In Bali, I think only one security line has a body scanner and you can choose whichever line you want to use. The cabin crew usually goes to the far left which is just a regular metal detector. Most security lines at KL don’t use the full body scanner either. It’s quite common to see only one body scanner per security checkpoint, and it’s often not in use in SE Asia.

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