A frame grab from a video clip filmed by a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant of Zhang Giang, a Chinese passenger, purportedly returning the bag of another passenger to the luggage bin after being caught red-handed rifling through it
Vietnamese authorities arrested a Chinese man for allegedly trying to steal an iPhone on a Vietnam Airlines flight on January 19, the second such instance reported by the carrier in three days.
Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper quoted the airline as saying that Zhang Giang, 41, was caught red-handed while searching the luggage of another passenger on the flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City.
He was filmed in the act by a flight attendant.
According to the news report, after boarding the aircraft, Zhang switched seats with another Chinese, Ren Guanghan.
Later he went to the overhead bin at his original seat, took a bag belonging to another passenger, and returned to his seat.
There he was rifling through it when a flight attendant approached him and asked if the bag belonged to him.
Giang admitted it was not and returned it to the bin.
The bag's owner then found his iPhone on the floor instead of inside the bag where he had left it, the newspaper reported.
The attendants wrote a report and got it signed by two other passengers.
When the plane landed in Ho Chi Minh City, authorities apprehended Zhang.
Vietnam Airlines said during check-in, its staff had categorized Giang and Guanghan as suspects and warned flight attendants to keep a discreet eye on them.
The categorization was part of the airline’s anti-theft program it launched in 2012 after Hong Kong police warned about in-flight thefts, and passengers reported of losses from their luggage.
Earlier, on January 17 Vietnam Airlines attendants had caught a 41-year-old Chinese man stealing US$700 from an Indonesian passenger's baggage during a flight from Indonesia to HCMC.
He was deported from Vietnam along with two accomplices who were also onboard.
In 2012 the airline’s staff busted 18 in-flight thefts and the number was “considerably” down last year, it reported.
It advises passengers on flights to China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia to take care of their hand luggage and keep it in their own overhead compartment.
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