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Pilot Describes Conditions in Hong Kong Quarantine Camp He Spent Six Days in Before Being “Extracted” by U.S. Government

Pilot Describes Conditions in Hong Kong Quarantine Camp He Spent Six Days in Before Being “Extracted” by U.S. Government

A U.S. pilot has described in written testimony the conditions he faced in the same government-run quarantine facility in Hong Kong that a British Airways flight attendant described as being like a “concentration camp”. The pilot, who works for FedEx Express, was eventually “extracted” from the camp by U.S. officials after spending six days in solitary confinement in a small room.

The pilot spent New Year’s Eve in the quarantine camp after arriving in Hong Kong the day before for what should have been a routine overnight stay before operating a flight back to the United States. Instead, the pilot found himself locked up for six days while U.S. government officials worked to secure his release.

Although the pilot repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19, one of his colleagues had tested positive and he was therefore classed as a ‘close contact’. Under Hong Kong’s strict virus prevention rules, close contacts must spend 14-days in isolation in a government-approved camp.

Rather than being allowed to remain in quarantine in his hotel room, the pilot described officials dressed in ‘space suits’ turning up at his hotel and telling him in “raised voices” that he would be transferred to the notorious Penny Bay quarantine camp.

“I arrived at Penny’s Bat at about 1:00 am on December 31 to find a very large facility of two-story blocks of motel-style building, surrounded by high fencing with gates for vehicles, guard shacks, bright outdoor stadium-like lighting, and constant patrols along the perimeter by PPE-clad person, who I assumed were security personnel,” the pilot wrote in a written answer to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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“My small room included a one-person bed, about 5 feet long, made of two pieces of plywood and a thin mattress, a compact modular bathroom (all of which became a shower stall), a cement floor, and limited hot water, only enough for a daily 5-minute shower, and none at the sink tap.”

“The room was drafty, but the heat supply was adequate. I had edible food for sustenance but poor to zero wi-fi,” the testimony continued.

The pilot described being served food through a window and staff who tried to force him to replace his mobile phone SIM card with one their own.

Captain Joseph DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) which represents FedEx Express pilots, wrote directly to FedEx chairman and chief executive Frederick Smith last week urging him to suspend all layovers in Hong Kong because of the conditions that pilots faced in the Chinese territory.

He described other pilots who had been forced to spend their layovers in cubicle-style rooms with hundreds of ‘patients’ in a makeshift hospital set up in an exhibition center with only communal bathrooms. Others were subjected to blood tests and chest x-rays.

FedEx Express recently moved some Hong Kong-based pilots out of the city temporarily because of new quarantine rules that require aircrew who normally live in the territory to spend 14-days in hotel quarantine whenever they arrive back from a foreign layover.

“Our union appreciates that FedEx Express management is engaged to support crewmembers and their families regarding new quarantine requirements for Hong Kong-based crews; however, these working conditions are wholly unacceptable,” wrote Captain DePete.

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“As a result, immediate action must be taken to protect the health and safety of FedEx Express flight crews,” he continued.

ALPA is currently resisting the renewal of a codeshare agreement between Cathay Pacific and American Airlines, arguing that the draconian quarantine rules benefit the Hong Kong-based carrier – specifically citing an exemption for cargo pilots flying to Anchorage in Alaska which is only available to Hong Kong crew.

Ultimately, the pilot who who spent six days in the Penny’s Bay quarantine camp was released but only after being driven straight to the airport “in a convoy of several vans as if I were a criminal to be extradited”.

View Comments (12)
  • Those pandemic spreading @$$holes think that they are better than any other human on earth. They come to the United States with the same attitude, and the rudeness that they are raised with.

  • Really not okay to compare this to a concentration though…I don’t think the jews were given food or showers or bathrooms or WIFI!! Oh yeah and they were executed!!!

  • My grandparents were in concentration camps. Their stories in no way shape or form describe the situation that you were in, not even close.
    You are closer to describing jail not being systematically persecuted and killed!!!

    • To those on here commenting that comparing conditions as being in a “concentration camp” as inappropriate, should look up the definition and study more… by very definition, he was in a concentration camp. People are conflating the Nazi concentration camps and Nazi Holocaust with the more general use of the term “concentration camps”. People should know that many Nazis concentration camps were just like this before things went really bad, and they packed more and more people into the camps, which could easily happen in this situation. My grandfather was in a concentration camp during WW2 as well, and I don’t get offended when people like this call out their dire situations, because it helps prevent the next holocaust… something everyone should be focusing upon. This isn’t some leftist Hollywood celebrity complaining about a 5 star hotel with 4 star accommodations, this is communist China, and if you think that this can’t turn into something else really quickly, you are naive, and exactly the sort of people who are responsible for nightmarish concentration camps.

  • So, if I am reading this correctly. There is a new airline in town called Federal Express Express. Or is it Federal Expresses ( plural ) or Fed(Ex) to the second degree?

  • That is not a concentration camp-type of scenario! He is just another spoiled rotten brat! They have moe than one and a third BILLION people to take care of! Do you understand that?! Now get over it and get on with it!

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