Arrested: Jhanzaib Malik, 24, who came to New York City to experience his 'dream vacation' was arrested after he allegedly said, 'there's a bomb in there,' while pointing to his bag. Malik is Pakistani but lives in South Africa and works for an airline company. He dreams of becoming a pilot.
A Pakistani man from South Africa arrested for describing his suitcase as a 'bomb' was arrested on Tuesday at the Sheraton hotel in Brooklyn, New York.
Jhanzaib Malik, 24, who came to New York City to experience his 'dream vacation' was arrested after he allegedly said, 'there's a bomb in there,' while pointing to his bag.
Authorities allege he made a threat because he became frustrated with the check-in process at the hotel.
The New York Daily News reports that Malik, 24, is currently on Rikers Island on $100,000 bail.
Malik's lawyer Roger Asmar claims that the hotel misunderstood Malik who was trying to flirt with the employee checking bags.
Asmar said that he referred to his luggage as being 'bomb,' which is slang for 'cool,' in order to impress the woman.
'The FBI checked the whole thing, and cleared him and leaves, and yet he still gets arrested,' Asmar said.
'Now, this poor kid is sitting in jail. It’s ridiculous. It’s discrimination against Pakistanis.'
The New York Daily News reports that a law enforcement official rejected Malik's lawyer's claim.
'Whether or not he has terror ties is completely irrelevant to the charges,' police said.
Malik’s uncle Javed, 39, told the Daily News that Malik spent a year saving money so that he could travel to New York.
'When he got the visa he was really happy to go to America,' Javed Malik said.
'He wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Times square. He believes America has a lot of positivity. He phoned today and he was crying. He doesn’t know what is happening to him.'
Malik, who is traveling to New York for the first time, had plans to sight-see in the Big Apple with a female friend from Boston, said his lawyer.
Malik's lawyer said that when he got to the hotel there was a problem with his credit card and check in was delayed.
Asmar said that Malik asked the front desk to hold $2,700 in cash that he was holding along with his luggage while he grabbed food and the woman agreed.
'He said, "Also, hold on to my 5,000 bomb luggage,"' Asmar said.
Malik got breakfast and when he returned to the hotel the concierge returned his money and the police arrested him.
The FBI was also called to look through Malik's phone, Facebook, and luggage.
After agents left Malik was charged with falsely reporting an incident.
He was taken to Rikers Island where his lawyer said he is being harassed by other inmates.
Malik works for his uncle as a fraud manager for the South African airline Skywise airlines. He is also studying to be a pilot.
Malik's uncle said he cannot afford to bail him out.
'We don’t have any problem with them (law enforcement) checking him out, but putting him in jail, that was harsh,' the uncle said.
'They could have just given him a warning, and told him the rules.
'We believe America is a very fair country, and we want to continue believing in that. He was just trying to impress the girl.'