Vietnam Airlines has responded to repeated in-flight thefts in recent years by training staff to be more alert and warning passengers not to keep money and other valuable assets in their cabin luggage. Photo by Shutterstocks/anvu
A Chinese national has been detained in HCMC after allegedly stealing luggage from another passenger on a Vietnam Airlines flight.
The 39-year-old Chinese suspect, whose name has not been disclosed, took a bag containing VND14 million ($602) and a smartphone worth over VND20 million ($860) belonging to a Vietnamese passenger sitting close to him on a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on Monday night, police said, as cited by media reports.
Around 10 p.m., the passenger spotted someone opening the overhead luggage compartment and acting suspiciously. He checked his luggage immediately and found that his bag was missing.
He looked around and discovered the Chinese man holding the bag he had lost. The passenger reported to the chief flight attendant.
When the Chinese passenger realized he was being filmed by the victim and the flight attendant, he put the bag back in the overhead compartment.
When the plane landed, the victim reported the theft to security authorities at Tan Son Nhat Airport, who detained the Chinese man and turned him over to HCMC police for further investigation.
Several Chinese nationals have been caught for theft aboard flights in Vietnam in recent years, but authorities have yet to take effective measures to stop it.
In January, a Chinese national was detained at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport for allegedly stealing $431 from a Vietnam Airlines passenger.
Vietnam Airlines has responded by training staff to be more alert, a representative said.
The national airline has also warned its passengers not to keep money and other valuable assets in their cabin luggage.
Vietnamese laws treat theft as a criminal offense if the stolen property’s value exceeds VND2 million ($87).