back to article Japanese customs reunited with lost dope

Japanese customs have been reunited with the 142g of cannabis they mislaid at Tokyo's Narita airport during a drugs-busting test operation, Japan Today reports. The stash had been placed by an officer in the side pocket of a randomly-selected suitcase belonging to an innocent incoming passenger on Sunday's Flight 520 from Hong …


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  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Couldn't he do better?

    The airport's customs chief, Manpei Tanaka, offered: "This *case* was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologise."

    Or at least the translator could have done better...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems a bit risky to me...

    Given the propensity of officialdom to react inappropriately to such things, I rather think that if I had discovered a tin full of someone's dope in MY bag, I'd have dumpstered it pronto without calling anyone, least of all the police. And made sure my fingerprints were well erased into the bargain.

    It seems to me that calling the cops to tell them someone else's controlled item is in one's suitcase means running a significant risk of encountering a Keystone Kops reaction and ending up in jail oneself. There's no shortage of examples...

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Who exactly are you asking to commit suicide? The useless mutt that failed to find the dope?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    £5000 for 5 ounces of weed?

    That is some expensive weed!

  5. Geoff Mackenzie

    Well, I'm relieved ...

    ... that all 25g were recovered safely.

  6. StopthePropaganda

    good thing

    that the passenger wasn't headed to Saudi Arabia or somewhere where the penalty for smuggling drugs can be death. No appeal, no chance to call anyone or to try to find where the dope came from...scary.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no totle>

    Of course suicide is an honorable way to atone for a crime or scandal. And don't forget folks, if you have decided to leave this mortal coil anytime soon, you are entitled to one free scandal before you go :-D

  8. Knasher

    Good to know

    Well at least now I know that if I ever wanted to bring cannabis through Tokyo airport, sniffer dogs can't find it when its enclosed in a small metal box.

  9. Owen Carter

    Transfer Passengers beware.

    As 'StopthePropaganda' noted above, if this person had transferred, or simply not checked all their bags pockets before flying again they could have been in vast trouble.

    Take the UAE (United Arab Emirates) for instance, even the bloody whiff of the stuff could get them done. Things have gotten very scary stupid out there:

    It must be bad when I start agreeing with the Daily Heil on a drugs story..

  10. Kanhef

    The real problem

    is that the sniffer dog couldn't find it. How much more is getting through because it isn't in a familiar test suitcase?

  11. Mark Boothroyd

    Re: Good thing

    StopthePropaganda: 'that the passenger wasn't headed to Saudi Arabia or somewhere where the penalty for smuggling drugs can be death. No appeal, no chance to call anyone or to try to find where the dope came from...scary.'

    They did mention it was an inbound rather than outbound passenger.

  12. cropchops


    Suicide... must be the lethal skunk

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lock your bag

    I know they tell you not to, but until i can personally trust every single person in an airport, then i will take my chances with my trustly little padlock. At least then if customs want a look, you know about it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me........

    of when a well known airline cargo warehouse gave me 2 large wooden boxes by mistake (they should have given me an envelope only) for delivery to London. I took them home that night for delivery next day. Read the manifests and it had "for collection by Brinks Mat" written on it and an invoice showing 1/2 million £ of jewellery for Cartiers in London. The cargo firm did not even take my name or details. Next day there was some urgent phone calls and I took the boxes back .

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Not really the first time...

    When Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin was in charge of the French Home Office, back in 2004, the french police had the bright idea to test the sniffer dogs by planting 150g of plastic in the luggage of an unknown passenger. The dogs did not detect anything, and the explosives disappeared:

    It does not seem that anyone has returned the explosives.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    As someone who has lost someone to suicide - it's not the answer to anything.

    It just leaves a trail of unrecoverable pain for those left behind.

    Oh, and I know a fair amount about the concepts of sepukku/jigai in Japanese history and culture. There is no honour in it. A British soldier in Afghanistan 200 yrs ago was swapping a painful and lingering death at the hands of pissed-off locals with a swift painless one by rolling on his rifle and going to his gawd like a soldier - just as 200 yrs ago certain Japanese social castes were doing themselves and their families a favour by ending things quickly.

    We lose more people on this planet *every day* to suicide than we do to the *annual* count of "terrrrist" victims. In the Western world-the major cause of death for 15-29 yr olds is quite often suicide.

    And before any smart arse pipes up - those who blow themselves up to kill others aren't committing suicide, they're using their bodies as a weapons delivery system...quite often under mortal duress.

  17. ratfox

    @lock your bag

    If I understand correctly, you are supposed to use the kind of lock they can open without your key, otherwise they'll just break it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And what if that passenger happened to be on his way to Thailand?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Transfer Passengers

    There is no good reason for civilised human beings to visit Islamic dictatorships.

    Anybody who does knows they are dicing with death.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Transfer Passengers

    Just as there is no good reason for civilised human beings to visit co-called "democratic" dictatorships, such as the US.

    Anyone who does knows they are dicing with intrusive search, random detention, torture and imprisonment for daring to look different.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sniffer dogs.

    So i guess those dogs have been very well trained to find dummy bags.

  22. kain preacher

    There is no good reason for civilised human beings to visit Islamic dictatorships.

    There is no good reason for civilised human beings to visit Islamic dictatorships.

    Um ok replace it with Malaysia or Thailand.

  23. Michael

    Re: "What if he was being transferred?"

    When you fly, you have a destination tag on your checked bags. Intermediate destinations are also listed, but the BIG BOLD ONE is your final destination. They picked a bag whose final destination was Tokyo. It's really not all that hard...

  24. Nordrick Framelhammer

    @mark boothroyd

    Transit passengers baggage often goes through customs, especially if they are laying over. The flight might have been inboud to the airport. That does not mean that all of the passengers where ending their journey at that airport.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds....... Isnt your name Matt Brinks?

    thats not bad ............

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "What if he was being transferred?"

    Or indeed Singapore

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Liam Johnson

    @Re: "What if he was being transferred?"

    The customs guy expected the dog to find the stash, so maybe his selection of an inbound bag was just luck.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On touring

    "Intermediate destinations are also listed...They picked a bag whose final destination was Tokyo"

    So it's possible the drugs could have been undetected for a few days and then the tourist hopped on a *different flight* with *different tickets*. Hmm? Arrival at Singapore Airport leading to detection by competent dogs and incarceration.

    Lesson: lock your bags and search them yourself before you get on the next flight.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Inbound SLF

    Just because the flight was an inbound flight does not necessarily mean that the slf (self loading freight) wasn't going to pick up his bag, head through customs, walk around to check-in and head off to Bangkok on the next available flight.

    It isn't too rare to see people do this as some countries require you to do this (ie USA), some carriers don't offer baggage transfer services (ie low cost carriers) and sometimes people find it cheaper to book the flights separately rather than on one ticket and so therefore may not be able to anyway.

    So just because the (un)fortunate pax came in on an inbound flight it doesn't mean they aren't going off to someplace where you REALLY don't want to be importing drugs.

  31. MarmiteToast


    To everyone who keeps commenting on how expensive this looks have you ever stop to consider that in a different country, say a country were the penalty for possession is more severe, it may be priced differently? No? I thought you hadn't.

  32. Spleen

    Re: Re: Good thing

    "They did mention it was an inbound rather than outbound passenger"

    If it was a randomly-selected suitcase, wasn't this pure luck? I suppose it could have been an area with only inbound passengers, I don't spend a lot of time in airports (thankfully). But really, I doubt they were thinking of this in the first place - they were making the stupid assumption that they'd immediately get it back. While at the same time saying that they wanted to improve the sniffer dog's abilities, which implies that they knew it wasn't 100%, which implies a risk of the dog not finding it.

    Send the idiots down for distribution of narcotics or whatever the charge is. I assume it's legal for police to carry drugs around in circumstances like this but it can't possibly be legal for them to then randomly hand it out to Junichiro Q Berogusu.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inbound or outbound - IT DOESN'T MATTER

    Even if they did plant the dope ON PURPOSE on and INCOMING passenger's bag. That doesn't mean the person could not get into trouble. In fact it says that the person who discovered this dope in their bag, was staying in a hotel in Tokyo, that they had come from Hong Kong. If they did stay in a hotel, most likely the person does not live in Japan. What if this had been a Singaporean or Thai business traveler coming to Tokyo for business, very stressed out, with a very tight schedule, not enough time to bother checking the bag thoroughly. What if they had traveled back with the dope still in the bag. What if the sniffer dogs at Narita still failed to find the dope on the way out as well? What if the sniffer dogs in Singapore or Bangkok then found the dope when the poor sod arrives there?

    This is simply unnacceptable. The customs officer should be fired for this to make a statement for all the other customs officers never even to dream to attempt this stunt ever again. I live in Tokyo and I frequently travel to Singapore. This scares the shit out of me. I am really upset about this.

  34. Philip Perry
    Paris Hilton

    The lesson to be learned here is...


    If you're from the first world, STAY IN IT. The rest of the planet has gone officially bonkers. It simply isn't safe "over there" anymore, and if you think it is you're deluding yourself.

    I'm reminded of Paul Bowles' "The Sheltering Sky", and the doomed couple who flattered themselves that they were "travellers, not tourists". They thought they could meld in anywhere just by wanting to. They were wrong.

    As for the U.S. being a bad idea for foreigners to visit due to the horrible airport security and whatnot, well, you've got us there. But listen; I'm from New York. Most of us Americans are very reasonable, civilized people, and it's still a great place to live and/or visit if you can get past the trolls who run the airports. Wait until late in 2009; with a more moderate government in place, there's an excellent chance all this insanity will be successfully treated and you'll be able to come hang out with us again.

    Paris, because she wouldn't go NEAR Dubai.

  35. Philip Perry
    Paris Hilton

    Clarification -- I was responding to the guys who...

    ... were discussing why civilized people shouldn't visit third world countries and islamic dictatorships. I should have been clearer.

    I wasn't trying to say Japan isn't part of the "first world". Although now, I don't think I'd use it as a connection on my way somewhere else!!!


  36. kain preacher

    Hmm another thought

    What it if the poor sod has a prior drug conviction or criminal record .

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Philip Perry

    Japan is a US colony, with fewer rights than Guam and Puerto Rico, but a US colony nevertheless, just in case you missed that. I know, because I have been living in this colony for 2 decades. Even many Japanese say so openly.

  38. Slaine

    and in other news

    20 grammes? what do you mean you only found 15 grammes? There was at least 10 grammes in there.

  39. Nick Pettefar

    You would understand

    If you lived in Japan. The Japanese almost always hand things in. They are very very honest about almost everything. There is very little crime there unless you count bicycle theft, running red lights (but only for the first couple of seconds, mind you) and the Yakuza. All par for the course.

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