As reported by the Brisbane Times, a Brisbane security officer dismissed for enabling a convicted German drug trafficker escape from Bangkok Airport has lodged an unfair dismissal claim.
The guard was one of two security officers employed by international security company Serco to handle the extradition of 25-year-old Carlo Konstantin Kohl from a Brisbane prison to Frankfurt on May 15. He claims that he had worked for over 36 hours straight prior to the drug dealer’s escape.
The guard claims that Serco is responsible for widespread cost-cutting and that long-haul extraditions should be undertaken by three or four security escorts.
Bad weather forced the aircraft to have to make a stop at Bangkok, leading to an 11 hour delay, during which time Kohl escaped from a shower in a transit hotel at Bangkok airport whilst the male guard was in a nearby toilet.
United Voice secretary Gary Bullock said Serco should have provided four security staff to carry out the extradition, thus allowing the security guards to take a break. Kohl had been addicted to drugs and was classified as “dangerous” under the Australian Transport Safety Regulations.
Fairfax Media reported that 30 minutes before they were due to check out of the hotel early in the morning, Kohl asked if he could have a shower, leaving the female security guard to watch over the men approach the shower. The female security guard contacted the Thai security staff to complete their check-out.
Meanwhile whilst the male guard was in the toilet, Kohl escaped, and was arrested two weeks later. The sacked security guard vehemently denied reports that the guards extraditing Kohl were asleep when Kohl escaped from their custody.
The male security guard had previously accompanied Kohl to the toilet just outside the hotel room, on several occasions overnight due to Kohl complaining of an upset stomach.
It had been raised with Serco that escorting prisoners outside the hotel room to use the toilets was a major problem with the security operation.
A Serco spokesman disagreed with the claim that three to four security guards were needed to undertake the international extradition, further stating the Department of Immigration approved the security. He denied that cost-cutting was a factor in the manner in which the operations were conducted.
The spokesperson for Serco insisted that the security staff had received the requisite training to be aware of potential problems that may arise in the course of an extradition. He stated that transport and escort officers held relevant qualifications, being a Certificate II in Security Operations in addition to completing an induction course for working in immigration detention procedures.