Airport police in Hanoi arrested two Chinese nationals for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a Japanese passenger's luggage during a flight from Hong Kong.
News website vef.vn Wednesday said the Chinese searched the bags of passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi on October 29, looking for valuables to steal.
It quoted one of the passengers as saying that this happened when many passengers were taking a nap.
But they were spotted by some passengers who informed the stewards, and the crew then began to keep an eye on the duo.
When the flight landed at Noi Bai International Airport, they handed them over to authorities.
A Japanese passenger told the police that his money, worth thousands of dollars, was gone.
But the money was not found despite a search by the police.
Another source was quoted as saying that the police suspect the men passed on the money to another accomplice who had posed as a passenger on the aircraft.
The next day the police deported the two men to Hong Kong.
Vietnam Airlines said it would cooperate with official agencies to tackle increasing in-flight crime.
In May this year news agency AFP quoted the Singaporean police as saying that 18 cases of in-flight thefts had been reported in that country since the beginning of this year.
It quoted Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, head of the Singapore airport police division, as saying some of the thieves were possibly members of Chinese gangs working in groups of three to four per flight.
They would usually strike during boarding or on board when passengers fell asleep or used the toilet, stealing cash from their handbags or laptop bags in the luggage compartment.
The thefts were confined to some regional flights, he added.
Chinese national Fu Xinping was jailed for four weeks for stealing US$800 and HK$3,000 ($386) from a compatriot's bag on a Hong Kong-bound Singapore Airlines flight in April.
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