Reg Spiers: Athlete Come Drug Smugler

I love being in airports. I don’t go there often and when I did, nowadays, I would stick to the domestic side. It has been on only a very few rare occasions that I have flown international. The excitement of waiting for a your luggage to come pass you on the collection carrousel. Seeing the suitcases, buggies, wheelchairs and boxes. It was the boxes that I scrutanised; whether they had fragile stickers, or this way up. What was inside? How would someone survive if they were in there? Little did I know what lengths Reg Spiers would go to in order to avoid the costs of a ticket.

Reginald ‘Reg’ Spiers was born 1941 in Adelaide, South Australia. He grew up to stand over 2 metres tall along with being strongly built. While he was still a teenager Reg placed third in the 1960/61 Australian Track and Field Championships and second in 1961/62 after taking up javelin. It was these results that lead to him to competing in the 1962 Commonwealth Games, that was held in Perth, Western Australia. His best throw was 69.70 metres, placing 5th overall.

He continued training during the Australian summer of 1963/64 hoping to qualify for the Olympics. Unsuccessful in gaining a spot on the team – he chose to skip Australia’s cold spell and fly to England – to try once again to qualify, this time during England’s summer. This did not pay off as once more he did not qualify, only to add to him this time he found himself penniless and desperate to get back to Australia in time for his daughter’s birthday.

Now this is where a plan was hated by Spiers. He went to a fellow athlete and friend, asking him a favor. The favor was whether his mate could construct a man-sized wooden box. Once built Spiers successfully air-freighted himself from London on a 63 hour flight to Perth.

Packed into the box with some tinned food, a torch, a blanket and a pillow, plus two plastic bottles – one for water, one for urine – Spiers was loaded on to an Air India plane bound for Perth, Western Australia. Although Spiers wanted ultimately to get to Adelaide, Perth was chosen because it was a smaller airport.

The man who posted himself to Australia, BBC World Services

Spiers went back to competitive javelin in 1966 and continued competing until his 1980.

It was in 1980 that Spiers became involved in drug trafficking. He was arrested by the Australian Federal Police and charged with 4 counts of conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis totaling $1.2 million. He pled guilty but before he could begin his 10 year sentence, he went on the lamb.

The next appearance of Reg is when he denied an Australian television interview in 1988 after being on the run for 6 years.

Since then Spiers has had multiple run-ins with the law. It was in 1984 that he got caught with drugs in Sri Lanka. He had 41 packets of heroin on him. This charge managed to earn himself a conviction of death. Upon appeal he spent a total of 5 years in jail.

Not much else was known about his freight flight or the drugs until he certified a biography.

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