Slovak aviation cops sneak explosives into travellers' luggage, jailarity ensues

The Slovak aviation cops decided to test their airport security by planting explosives on travellers without their knowledge, to see if they'd be spotted by the security screeners.

It gets better: the screeners only caught seven out of eight explosive-plants. The remaining one was left in the luggage of an Irish tourist, who was nabbed on his return to Dublin and thrown in jail.

Three days later, the Slovak cops contacted their Irish counterparts, who let the poor bastard out of jail, cordoned off his street, and had the bomb-squad remove the Slovak explosives.

Ludmila Stanova, spokeswoman for Slovakia's ministry of the interior, says Dublin airport was warned to expect a person carrying explosive samples, and that the passenger was also alerted after his arrival.

"He was supposed to wait for the police to take the sample from him," she told the BBC World Service...

On Tuesday morning the man's flat near Dublin city centre was cordoned off while bomb disposal experts removed the explosives for further examination.

The Irish Army said passengers had not been put in danger because the explosives were stable and not connected to any essential bomb parts.

The Slovak minister for the interior has expressed his government's "profound regret" to Mr Ahern.

Slovaks plant explosives on air traveller


  1. WRONG!
    The Slovaks planted the explosive into a suitcase after it was checked in in order to test/train the sniffing dog. They realized the dog did not find the explosive while the airplane was still on ground. They contacted the pilot and informed him. They also contacted and informed the tower. The pilot decided that he would fly anyway.
    Then, the Slovak police informed the Irish side that an airplane with testing batch of explosive is leaving the Poprad airport. The Irish side misplaced the FAX and they let the passenger with explosive in suitcase to go home.
    I follow the case with keen interest, because I am Slovakian.

  2. The best part is that the Slovak security people faxed a warning to the Irish luggage handling agent. But it was in such bad broken English that nobody could make heads or tails of it.

  3. In any case, they should NOT be planting things in passenger’s luggage without their knowledge or consent. This was one of the better possible outcomes. What if the Irish gent was flying somewhere with worse human rights? some places would have locked him up and thrown away the key even after the Slovakian people contacted them to straighten out the incident.

  4. This is just like when Japanese Customs planted drugs in a passenger’s luggage.

    Why must they plant this stuff in strangers’ bags? Makes you wonder when somebody is arrested and he claims he doesn’t know anything about that stuff. Maybe he’s telling the truth when he says it was planted. Especially when the authorities makes it normal practice to plant this stuff on innocent people.

    Why can’t they hire people to play these “undercover” roles?

  5. So dont worry if we should run out of terrorists, we have the technology to make our own in a jiffy.

  6. Contrary to the story and commenter Number 1 above who is completely wrong and obviously buying some made-up political explanation:
    The guy with luggage knew nothing about it. Slovaks waited DAYS after the flight before anyone in Ireland was told. Slovaks actually did this to 8 passengers, found 7.
    The Slovaks TELEXED (yes Telex! do they still use for flight communication or something) ServisAir in Dublin. You know, the airport maintenance people.
    The Telex was badly written:
    ““Dear Colleagues, please be informed that we have received info from police department of (Tatry Airport) that there is forgotten sample of explosive material in baggage on bord of flight no V58230.”
    “The sample of grey colour is in plastic bag (size 5x5cm) in the rare part of black backpack (under harnesses) in hold no 3 or 4. The sample is not dangerous, it is only used for dog training. It is not able to cause explosion nor fire (no power source of detonator is included) Pilot in command has been informed about this sample by ATC (air traffic control). We would like to kindly ask you to return that sample with flight no V58231. Thx for coop.”

    Like I put a bomb in your office, and then I tell the office cleaners..

    The bomb was RDX, unstable at low temps apparently, which because of that is never flown , according to the coverage here in Ireland.

    And I listened to the Slovak Ambassador, who couldn’t answer or explain ANYTHING.

    1. spot on, what a comedy of errors. took us ages to get our heads around what the hell happened as it was going on. we were in college just down the road when they army showed up. didn’t know what was going on…

  7. Oh, and contrary to what Cory says, the guy wasn’t thrown in gaol. He was in no trouble whatsoever. Makes a better story I guess, Cory?

  8. @ Anon 1
    Compare this to the experience I had with Australian Parliament House security while on a high school trip. They asked to use the bus to help train their sniffer dog, had us wait outside, put some packages in the bus and brought in the sniffer dog. Everyone knew what was going on, no one had anything planted without their knowledge.

  9. There are several factual inaccuracies in the above entry. More information about the case by an Irish security expert here:

    This includes information about the explosives used and the risks involved.

    The idea that sending a Telex to Servisair counts as sufficient warning is laughable. Why on earth could the Slovakian secret police not figure out how to use a telephone?

    Also, the man was not a tourist but an electrician working in Ireland. The Slovakian secret police endangered his life and the lives of many other people with such a ridiculous mission. If it had been New York or London he had arrived into, he could have been shot on arrival.

  10. There were two sets of explosives planted on the man and one was removed. The Slovakian authorities have claimed that the officer who removed the first set was about to remove the second when he was called away to perform other tasks.

    The most shocking information to come to light was the decision to fly given that they found out about the explosives while the plane was still on the ground. I’m not sure what the motives behind this decision were, perhaps to save the money the delay would have cost.

    I can’t imagine this will do any good for Irish-Slovakian relations.

  11. Also, the poor guy was a Slovak national working in Ireland for the past three years or so as an electrician, not an Irish tourist. Just because he was arrested doesn’t mean he’ll have a record, which in turn shouldn’t mean that he’ll have trouble flying. However, as we all know, if he ever tries flying to the US his name will be ‘flagged’ on the dreaded ‘list’ anyway.

    1. I don’t know about Irish law, but here in the US, you would still have an arrest record, albeit not a conviction record. Still, cops pulling your info for any reason would see this arrest record, which could certainly prejudice them against you. I have even seen it in employment applications, where they no longer ask if you have a record of a conviction, but rather ask if you have ever been arrested. This seems quite unconstitutional to me, as we are supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty” in a free society, but it is done nonetheless. You’d have to sue them to get it to change, and who is in a position to do that when looking for a job? You have to pay a lawyer a bunch of money to get an arrest record expunged to get it removed. Governments of the world today: Flushing lives down the drain with a rubber stamp due to their own ineptitude. It happens more often than we’d like to think.

  12. Hey Cory, where’d you get the idea about him being put in jail? Are you just making stuff up now? Seriously, dude.

    1. Check, stumo’s link (#7) it says in the second paragraph:

      “Irish police arrested him on Tuesday, three days after his flight. He was later released without charge.”

      I think the problem is with most news stories as they develop, you get new articles posted and said articles aren’t always linked together.

      On another note, I sure as hell don’t want to fly out of Slovakia any time soon, not with airport officials randomly inserting bomb materials into luggage. The should have put the fake bombs in predetermined luggage, marked with a special color or tag that would not get loaded on the plane, but it would be processed through airport security.

      1. The problem with marking the luggage with a special color or tag is that the sniffer dogs might become trained to respond to the tag not to the presence of explosive. From what I’ve heard, the way the Americans do it is to have a professional (either a retired policeman or a TSA employee from another airport) carry the bag with the explosives in it.

    2. There were three different BBC articles that stated that he was put in jail. Are you just trolling now?

  13. Also of note, Mr Ahern is no longer Taoiseach of Ireland. That crook jumped ship when his finances were coming under scrutiny and the economy was heading down the toilet. He joins the ranks of Ireland’s past corrupt leaders. The Taoiseach now, is the powerful, political talisman known as Brian Cowen, Mr. Ahearn’s former Deputy.

  14. There was criticism of the Gardi for arresting the Slovak man, which, I find harsh. The timelines indicate that after being informed, through unverified channels, of the presence of explosives they arrested and held the man for a few hours. That seems quite reasonable to me. Another strange blame sharing statement criticized Dublin airport for not checking the incoming baggage: The European Union, the stable door and a number of other elements would seem to answer such a complaint. Really I think the best solution in these kind of situations is to accept responsibility and keep quiet about real or imagined errors on the part of others, it’s more dignified.

  15. Here’s an extract of the transcript of the conversation between the police and the airport tower and the tower and the pilot which is being blamed for the confusion on whether the plane should fly with the explosives or not (from the Irish Times):

    “It’s not dangerous. It doesn’t have the mechanism that makes it blow up, but it is packed in there, I left it there,” the policeman tells the control tower.

    “And it’s not a ‘dummy’?”, the control tower asks.

    “No, it’s not a dummy, it’s real,” the policeman responds.

    “It’s real but without an ‘activator’?” the tower asks, and the policeman explains that it cannot explode without a detonator.

    The tower then contacts the pilots who, along with the Boeing 737-400 that they were flying, had been leased by Danube Wings from Czech Airlines. The controller tells the flight crew that the police had forgotten to remove a “dummy explosive” from baggage loaded on to the aircraft.

    “It’s not dangerous, they say, because it needs a detonator and other things, basically in itself it’s not dangerous, but it was forgotten among the baggage,” the tower tells the pilot.

    When the pilot asks what the tower suggests he does about the problem, the controller tells him to alert staff at Dublin airport to the dummy explosives on board to prevent any security scare.

    After a short pause, the transcript quotes the pilot as saying: “We’ll take option number one, to fly to Dublin with this dummy and try to explain things there somehow.” Before taking off, the pilot jokes: “But that [sniffer] dog shouldn’t get food for a week.”

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