Drugs mule Paul McCartney

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I have to admit the title might be a bit harsh but I hope it got your attention.

Paul McCartney’s arrival at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on January 16, 1980, marked his first visit to Japan since the Beatles tour of 1966. The occasion was a planned 11-city concert tour by his band Wings. Instead, Paul’s visit was limited to a nine-day stint in the Tokyo Narcotics Detention Center, which ended on this day in 1980.

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Paul McCartney’s previous application for a Japanese visa had been turned down in 1976. This time he was allowed into the country as it was a brief tour.

Upon their arrival at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, however, customs officials found 219 grammes of marijuana, with a street value of 600,000 yen, hidden in Paul’s luggage and inside the hood of one of his children.

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McCartney was arrested, handcuffed and questioned for an hour by narcotics control officers. It was then decided that further questioning would take place the following day.

The amount was large enough, however, to warrant a smuggling charge and a potential seven-year prison sentence. Given Japan’s reputation for rigorous enforcement of its strict anti-drug laws, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that McCartney would escape trial and possible imprisonment, yet he was released and quickly deported from Japan on January 25, 1980, prior to making any appearance in court.

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The arrest put the tour in jeopardy, and Wings’ music was immediately banned from all television and radio stations across Japan.

Wings’ Japanese promoters announced that a decision on the 11 concerts would be made the next day. On this evening they told reporters: Almost 100,000 tickets for the concerts have been sold, representing a possible loss of well over 100 million yen.”

McCartney was imprisoned for a total of 10 days until 25 January 1980. He was released without charge and deported to England.

The other members of Wings had left Japan on 21 January. The dates of the tour were to have been Budokan Hall, Tokyo (21-24 January), Aichi-Ken, Taiiku-Kan, Nagoya (25-26 January), Festival Hall, Osaka (28 January), Osaka Furitsu-Kan, Osaka (29 January), Budokan Hall, Tokyo (31 January to 2 February).

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