Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Masked refugee creates new headaches

Meet the man behind the mask, behind the man who wore the mask that made a laughing stock of security procedures at a major international airport. Rusty Slusser is the founder of SPFX Masks, the company that makes the hyper-realistic silicone mask used by a Chinese national to fool airport security in Hong Kong and board an Air Canada flight bound for Vancouver using someone else's boarding pass. The disguise he used was a full head-and-torso mask which made him look like a wrinkly, old Caucasian male. The unnamed 22-year-old male shed his second skin midflight and was arrested when the plane landed. He has since applied for asylum.

The bizarre nature of the escapade has created headlines around the world since the story broke at the weekend. But Slusser, 39, dismisses it as unwelcome attention. "We are very proud of what we have accomplished," he said in a telephone interview. "But we are not proud about how our masks have been misused." Authorities investigating the security breach believe that the Chinese male swapped boarding passes with a US passport holder in a scheme that was probably hatched by people smugglers.

This marks the second time this year that Slusser's masks have been used in illegal circumstances. In April, a white man is accused of having committed six bank robberies in Ohio disguised as a black man. Conrad Zdzierak, 30, used another one of Slusser's creations to carry out the robberies, evading capture initially because police were looking for a suspect with a different skin colour. Slusser said he was co-operating with authorities in the case of the robberies but had yet to be contacted over the asylum seeker case.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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