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Thread: LHR Incident with El Al Employee Pretending to be a Cop

  1. #1
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    LHR Incident with El Al Employee Pretending to be a Cop

    I want to mention a LHR incident I went through last year.

    I was waiting for my flight back home and went to the parking lot at the middle of the airport. I was the only one up there and was hanging out for around an hour. I did have a camera on me, but wasn’t taking pics. A guy dressed in street clothes approached and started addressing me. He obviously wasn’t British from his accent and I also noticed he had an El Al employee ID around his neck. He started demanding I show my passport. I asked if he was a police officer. He didn’t answer. He asked for my passport again. I said that unless he was a cop, I couldn’t show him, but I showed him my plane ticket. I told him my plane leaves in a few hours and I’m waiting. He said I had to leave immediately. I asked again if he was a cop and he wouldn’t answer. I said I’ll leave and left.

    As soon as I got back to the terminal, I went to the information booth and reported that an El Al employee was on the parking lot impersonating an officer. Within five minutes, two uniformed LHR cops came down and asked for a description. The cops were extremely professional and polite. I gave them a run-down of what happened and said he seemed to work for El Al because of his ID. The cops told me that this wasn’t the first time something like this happened. They said that EL Al employs people called “spotters” who canvass the parking lots and other areas around the times El Al flights are supposed to take-off and land. They have NO legal authority in the UK. In fact, they’re not even supposed to approach people or speak to them and the absolute most they can do is report something to the police as they have radios. And they definitely don’t have any special security arrangement with the UK. The cops told me they’d look into this and that was that.

    Anyone in Europe come across these guys before? And are they in any of the US airports? If they are here, what rights do they have?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like El Al Security. Haven't heard of them outside of the check in area before. Will ask some LHR photographers I know if they've had any encounters.
    The parking lots at LHR tend not to be frequented by the local photographers down there - BAA are known for chasing them off the parking lots.

    There was an incident in the late 90's at the LHR parking lot you mention where some folk were arrested for filming a porno.

  3. #3
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    Yes, it happens in the US too. Happened to me and a few other spotters in L.A A few years back. ELAL security and FBI/and or secret service were there too. It involved a inbound ELAL flight. We were questioned and that was that.
    It's hard to take chances but sometimes it's better if you do

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonanzabucks View Post
    If they are here, what rights do they have?
    I remember back some 15 years ago and we drove 2 friends from Cali who were staying with us to JFK/El Al. We parked and went in with them as their flight was a few hours away. Sitting inside the terminal and this guy came over and asked if one of their bags which was a little far way was theirs. I knew he wasnt PD and even remarked that maybe he was Mossad!! Caught my attention after that and noticed him walking around!! LOL these guys should be running the TSA!!

  5. #5
    Junior Member flyingwithfish's Avatar
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    Many years ago while at JFK on assignment for a major global wire service I was shooting inside the terminal when a man in a Chicago Bull jacket approached me, with a thick Israeli accept demanding my film. I asked who they were, they demanded my ID and I refused (my NYPD Working Press credential was clearly visible around my neck, as was my United Nations, FDNY, Nassau, Westchester and Newark press credentials) , with that he opened his jacket revealing his weapon and again asked for my ID. I told him who I was, what I was doing and that he could clearly see my credentials.

    With that he told me he didn't care who my credentials were from, I needed to leave before something very bad happened. If nothing else in this life I know one thing ... you don't screw with the I.D.F., I left with the photos I had.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    Sorry, but anyone who flashes steel at me without an ID gets an immediate call to the police, especially someone saying something as preposterous as "you need to leave before something bad happens" That guy obviously saw too many Arnold movies lol what a joke

  7. #7
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    Before 9/11, I was parked by the cargo area underneath the 13L approach with an old Radio Shack AM/VHF radio receiver. Two men in a marked El Al SUV pulled up next to me and asked what I was doing and what I had in my hand. I said I was watching the planes and listening to the tower frequency. I offered them to see the radio. They looked at it, handed it back to me and said enjoy the planes. I don't mind them asking what I'm doing but they have no right to ask for id or request/demand/threaten someone to vacate an area outside of an El Al terminal or cargo building.
    Cessna 6MA Kennedy tower, Rwy 31L, CLEAERD TO LAND!

  8. #8
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    I used to run coach trips from England to various European Airports for spotters and this happened to one of our group. It was on the terraces at Frankfurt.

    After we got back, I complained to El Al's London office and received an apology with a copy of a book with the history of the airline.

    I won't tolerate El Al security telling me what to do. It also happened to me at Vienna, they called the cops and the cops came and told them to leave me alone. The woman just walked off to the other side of the parking garage and watched me from a distance.

  9. #9
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    lol,I never had anything like that although cops are always around In pbi One the other time i was there was Talking on the phone pretending not to Watch me while i was taking photos >.> Theres not many cops around in Pbia Maybe bout 5-10,But there was a K9 My first though was The Probably Something relating to drugs Because Bahamas air does fly in...Other then that there friendly at Pbia I was going to ask if i could take a photo but i'd have a feeling i would of Gotten tased...

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