16 August 2023

UPDATED: Bail refused for man who allegedly claimed to have explosives on Sydney Airport flight

| Albert McKnight

A Canberra man has been arrested over an alleged incident at Sydney Airport on Monday. Screenshot: Social media.

UPDATED 5 pm: The Canberra man accused of claiming he had explosives while on an international flight from Sydney Airport has been refused bail.

Muhammad Arif, a 45-year-old from Watson in the ACT, first appeared in the Sydney Downing Centre to face his two charges on Tuesday.

He made no application for bail and it was formally refused by Magistrate Greg Grogin, who also adjourned for a bail review on Wednesday (16 August) morning.

10:15 am: A man from Canberra has been charged after he allegedly disrupted a flight that left Sydney International Airport on Monday (14 August), leading to the aircraft being evacuated.

According to Sydney Airport, the incident resulted in the cancellation and delay of other domestic flights.

The Malaysia Airlines flight 122 to Kuala Lumpur, which departed about 1 pm that afternoon, returned to Sydney at about 3:45 pm, the Australian Federal Police said.

“During the flight, a male passenger allegedly became disruptive and claimed to have explosives on board,” police claimed.

The 45-year-old man was arrested that night and charged with making a false statement about threatening to damage an aircraft and not complying with a cabin crew’s safety instructions.

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of over $15,000, respectively.

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He is expected to face the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday (15 August).

Police said there was no impending threat to the community.

“The AFP will not divulge operational matters, however, an emergency response plan was enacted and an evacuation was initiated once it was deemed safe for passengers and crew,” police said.

Sydney Airport said that as a result of the incident, 32 domestic flights were cancelled (16 inbound and 16 outbound), and other domestic flights were delayed by up to 90 minutes, but no international flights were cancelled as of 6:35 pm on Monday.

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