Solomons PM Required To Undergo Body Search At Australia Airport

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Lilo questions search, forced into standoff with Brisbane security

By Susan Merrell

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 19, 2013) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo was asked to undergo an explosive body search by Australian Security Officers at Brisbane Airport, last Saturday, according to an eyewitness.

Prime Minister Lilo is said to have had a 'stand-off' with security officers involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP) when he refused the search.

"They told the Prime Minister that even Rudd and the Australian Governor-General must go through the same process- which is rubbish," said the eyewitness.

Sir Trevor Garland, Honorary Consul-General of the Solomon Islands in Sydney confirmed that the Solomon Islands' PM is exempt from such searches.

"So, what went wrong," asked Sir Trevor?

"The Solomon Islands' Prime Minister is afforded close personal protection by the Australian security agencies while in Brisbane," Sir Trevor remarked. "They must have known who he was."

This latest airport stand-off recalls a similar incident in 2005 where Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, was asked to remove his shoes at the same airport. It prompted an insulted Sir Michael to suspend Australia's Aid program in protest.

This latest incident comes just days after a news article published in Papua New Guinea's National newspaper reported an unnamed PNG Member of Parliament having his phone and wallet confiscated and the contents of his phone downloaded by immigration officials at Sydney airport.

The unnamed MP claims that this was after he was identified as a member of the parliament of PNG.

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