Chinese asylum seeker to remain in Canada custody

The Chinese asylum seeker disguised as an elderly white man.

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2010, 13:58 PM IST

Vancouver: A Chinese asylum seeker who boarded a flight from Hong Kong to Canada disguised as an elderly white man will remain in custody as officials try to confirm his identity.

A lawyer representing the Canadian Border Services agency to the country`s refugee board on Wednesday said that the man presented a Peoples Republic of China identity card upon arrival in Vancouver on October 29. There is a publication ban on the man`s identity.

The man boarded an Air Canada flight in Hong Kong wearing a remarkably detailed silicone mask. An internal government intelligence report says he removed the disguise in a washroom mid-flight.

Lawyer Dan McLeod said his client is from mainland China and is concerned that information disclosed at the hearing might become available to Chinese authorities.

Daphne Shaw Dyck of the Immigration and Refugee Board concluded the man`s identity has not been firmly established. His next detention hearing is on December 08, but he could appear before then if his identity has been confirmed.

A Hong Kong official said that the impostor was a mainland Chinese citizen transiting through Hong Kong. The official declined to be named because she is not authorised to release the information.

The official said the Chinese man likely escaped detection because he used his own travel documents and a genuine boarding pass when clearing immigration checkpoints in Hong Kong, and then swapped travel papers with someone in the transit lounge just before boarding the flight to Vancouver, British Columbia.

A Canadian government official said a US passport was involved.

Jim Murray, a Canada Border Services lawyer, said on Monday the refugee claimant identified himself as a member of an organisation in China and the safety of some of the group`s members is at risk. He did not specify the group involved.

Bureau Report