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Fri, 24 Nov 2006

Messed up fines - 12:15
My sister arrived last night in town on a Murrays bus from Sydney (it is my birthday today and she has come down to visit for a few days), about 10 minutes before I was due to pick her up off the bus I got an SMS saying she would be an hour late. Fine I thought, probably due to some traffic control issues on the Federal Highway near Collector where there were fires blocking the highway in the middle of the night on Wednesday night. However the fires were under control to the extent that traffic was not impeded, the reason for her bus being late was far more unusual.

The police were doing drug searches of all busses and trucks on the highway up near Goulburn, no idea why, maybe they had a tip off, or maybe they just wanted to use police resources there for some reason. Anyway the drug dogs sniffed around the luggage and all the passengers on the bus which took a while. The messed up part is what happened to one German backpacker. Jane mentioned the dogs had singled him out for some reason, so the police questioned him for a while. However in the end he did not have any drugs or evidence of drugs on his person or in his luggage. However they found a swiss army knife in his luggage (carry on luggage) and gave him a spot fine of AUD $550 for that and confiscated the knife.

So apparently the terms and conditions on the ticket may have some clause about no concealed weapons to be carried on your person, though it is not possible to find this anywhere on the Murrays website, the terms and conditions on purchasing a ticket make no mention of such clauses, it may simply be in some public transport law the police claim to be adhering to.

I personally think it is somewhat dodgy to fine someone and confiscate possessions, sure there may be some good reason the Police dogs went for this guy, however with no way to convict him on the spot it is a bit rough to fine him for someone I am fairly sure no one has ever mentioned or warned about. Really this is not air travel, have you ever been told upon getting on a bus that you need to stow all weapons or similar items in the baggage hold?

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