National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said Thursday it has suspended five employees who are suspected of involving in a ring which smuggled stolen goods from Japan to Vietnam.
The employees - a male co-pilot and four female flight attendants who regularly flew between Vietnam and Japan - later admitted to violating regulations in their report to the carrier, the carrier said.
The news website VnExpress quoted an unnamed source as saying that the five employees may have to go to Japan for the investigation of the smuggling ring.
On Thursday morning, Tokyo police met with leaders of Vietnam Airlines branch office in Japan for the second time to collect documents related to the stolen goods smuggling ring involved Vietnam Airlines staff.
The police asked Vietnam Airlines to provide documents about its staff as well as flights to Japan of Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, an attendant who was recently arrested in Japan, over the last 2-3 years.
Ngoc, 26, was apprehended Monday after serving on a regular flight from Vietnam to Nagoya.
Two days later, Japanese police contacted the Vietnam Airlines office in Tokyo to inform its officials of the arrest and demanded meeting with five other crew members for questioning.
Vietnam Airlines told the press the company will cooperate with Japanese investigators in the case, provide updated information and strictly punish employees found violating regulations.
Ngoc allegedly tried to transport 21 items of clothes worth 125,000 yen (US$1,200) on a bus specific for Vietnam Airlines’ staff from a hotel in Osaka Prefecture to Kansai International Airport last September, Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported.
She was believed to be smuggling the clothes for a 30-year-old Vietnamese woman in Japan, who has been indicted for buying stolen goods, it said.
She is also suspected of having transported stolen goods worth 3 million yen ($29,300) since last June.
The flight attendant has denied the accusation, saying she did not know that the clothes were stolen. But she said many of her colleagues smuggled goods into Vietnam to earn extra income, according to the news report
About 20 other employees of Vietnam Airlines were also allegedly involved in smuggling, the report said.
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