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Inquiry Reveals No Lapse In Aviation Security

Friday, May 17, 2002

From the Aviation Security Service

Detailed Inquiry Reveals No Lapse In Aviation Security – Aviation Security Service

A starting pistol and a knife brought into New Zealand by a German tourist were in a rucksack stowed in the hold of the aircraft on which he was travelling, says the Aviation Security Service (Avsec).

“Being in the hold of the aircraft, the rucksack was not subject to screening by us, and the weapons did not pose a threat to security,” Avsec General Manager Mark Everitt said today.

Bernd Roller carried the gun and knife from Frankfurt through to London and Los Angeles, on to Auckland and then to Christchurch on a series of flights. The weapons were discovered by staff at a Christchurch hotel where Mr Roller was staying. He was convicted and fined $200 in the Christchurch District Court for bringing the pistol into New Zealand without a permit.

Mr Everitt said Avsec had checked airline inventories and worked with the airlines, other border agencies and the Police to investigate the incident thoroughly. Mr Roller was interviewed by Avsec and video footage of him arriving at Auckland was viewed to see what bags he was carrying and what security checks were made.

“There was no lapse of security,” Mr Everitt said. “He travelled with three items of luggage. Video footage and airline documentation shows he carried one, which was screened thoroughly by Avsec before he boarded his flight to Christchurch, and two items were checked into the hold of his flight from Auckland to Christchurch. The starting pistol and knife were in the rucksack, stored in the hold of the aircraft.

“Mr Roller’s cabin baggage was searched twice by my staff at Auckland Airport. He did not have access to the starting pistol and knife during his flights, so there was no threat to the safety of the aircraft.”

Police originally said Mr Roller had told them he carried all his luggage with him. However, Mr Everitt said Mr Roller had been interviewed by a German-speaking Avsec officer, and Mr Roller had said he had been “confused and tired” when spoken to by the Police.

“He confirmed that the rucksack was always in the hold of the aircraft,” Mr Everitt said.

“I have watched with dismay the media coverage of this incident, but decided not to make any comments about this incident until Avsec had the opportunity to undertake a thorough investigation and check all the facts. There was considerable confusion surrounding this incident, with contradictory statements appearing in the media.

“This should now clarify matters and remove the confusion that exists.”

Mr Everitt also said that the CAA had reviewed the results of the inquiry and agreed with the findings.

ENDS

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