PIA crew detained in US for several hours



Lahore: The cabin crew of a Pakistan International Airlines flight was detained for several hours at John F Kennedy Airport in New York for allegedly smuggling hundreds of cartons of cigarettes and dozens of mobile phone sets, officials said on Thursday.

Authorities at the US airport held eight members of the crew of PIA flight PK-721 yesterday after over 500 cigarette cartons and a large number of mobile sets, mostly BlackBerrys and iPhones, were found in their baggage.

The items were in excess of the permissible limits, officials said.

The authorities interrogated the crew members for five hours and released them after imposing a heavy fine on PIA, officials said.

PIA spokesman Sultan Hasan described the incident as unfortunate and said an inquiry had been initiated against the crew members.

"Strict action will be taken against them if the charges against them are proved," he said.

Incidentally, earlier this week, another PIA crew member had been jailed for 32 months for trying to smuggle dozens of counterfeit passports and fake passport materials into the UK.

PTI