Vietnam Airlines has released a statement, which has been seen by local media, regarding its flight attendants held and questioned by Australian authorities in Melbourne Airport.

The Vietnamese flag carrier confirmed that on May 23, 2022, nine out of 11 flight attendants on flight VN 780 were held and questioned the Australian authorities at the airport prior to the Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh city flight.

Eight of the flight attendants were allowed to fly to Ho Chi Minh later the same day, while the remaining flight attendant was allowed to board a flight back to Vietnam two days later.

On June 14, 2022, Australia’s 7News reported on a raid that saw police "busting" nine crew accused of laundering AU60,000 ( $41,000) in cash. The police found the cash divided up amongst the crew and hidden in their personal luggage.

Image credit: video screengrab from 7news.com.au

Australian police officers suspect that the crew were attempting to smuggle drug money to cartels overseas. While the Australian media did not specifically name the airline, a photograph released by Australian Border Force, and published by 7News showed cash and Vietnamese passports taken as evidence.

Vietnam Airlines classified the incident as simply “a random inspection”, advising local media that it had not received any official notice from Australian authorities. 

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) described the case as “not very serious”. 

Under Australian law, any foreigner who brings AUD 10,000 AUD ($ 6,935), or an equivalent amount in other currencies, must make a declaration when they enter or leave the country. Otherwise, they can be subject to fines or imprisonment.