SYDNEY, May 31 (Kyodo) -- A classified customs report has revealed that workers at Sydney airport have been involved in drug smuggling and stealing from passengers, The Australian newspaper reported Tuesday.
The customs report details serious security breaches and illegal activity by baggage handlers, air crew, ramp and trolley workers, security screeners and cleaners, the newspaper said.
The customs report said that baggage handlers have been involved in diverting bags containing large amounts of narcotics from incoming international flights to domestic baggage carousels, sometimes changing baggage tags to avoid examination by customs.
''Baggage handlers are suspected of large-scale pillage and may use the roof area to gain illegal entry to passenger baggage,'' the report says.
The report found that customs checks on aircrew were relatively rare considering there was evidence showing that they are ''an extremely high risk.''
It also said, ''Intelligence from other law enforcement agencies suggests that some Asian-recruited Qantas crew may be involved in the importation of narcotics and are current subjects of alerts.''
Australian Transport Minister John Anderson said the federal government had not seen the report, but said he thought the critical issue was whether there was potentially a link between the smuggling and terrorism.
The report says out of the 500 security screeners employed at Sydney airport, 39 have a serious criminal conviction and 39 have been convicted over minor matters.
It also says that 14 of those screened have questionable immigration status and that two were referred to the Immigration Department as illegal immigrants.
Two customs operations have targeted two groups of baggage handlers, one of which is believed to have been involved with the importation of 10 kilograms of cocaine in early October 2004.
An official at the airport told The Australian that hours of footage had been recorded by surveillance cameras of lower-level criminality within secure areas of the airport, ranging from stealing valuables from suitcases, to using passenger bags to smuggle stolen goods aboard planes.
Since 1995, the Australian Federal Police have also run an investigation into alleged criminality at the airport.
Australian Customs Minister Chris Ellison has sought an urgent briefing on the report and said that the information has been passed on to law enforcement agencies for investigation.
Internal investigation follows reports of drug smuggling by airline staff.
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