Baggage thefts a shame for Vietnamese aviation agencies: transport minister

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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Workers move luggage at Da Nang Airport wearing uniforms with pockets in violation of regulations meant to prevent baggage theft at airports, which is rampant in Vietnam. Photo: Dieu Hien 
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has criticized the leadership of relevant agencies for the increasing baggage theft, mostly at major international airports.
“The main reason is that the leaders do not recognize their responsibility,” he said.
“As long as you are indifferent to and shameless about the theft of international visitors’ luggage, the problem will not go away,” he said at a meeting with aviation agencies and the police Thursday.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) reported an increase in the number of complaints about luggage thefts from 301 last year to 468 so far this year.
Major General Nguyen Dinh Thuan of the Ministry of Public Security said VIP passengers have also been victims of airport baggage theft.
"A bank CEO accompanying the Prime Minister aboard a special aircraft lost a whole suitcase. A leader of a Ministry of Public Security agency lost an iPad from his check-in luggage."
CAAV director Lai Xuan Thanh said it is difficult to identify the agency responsible for the thefts because it could be happening at departing terminals abroad.
Carriers only pay compensation for lost items based on weight, which frustrates passengers losing valuable items, he said.
There are many “blind spots” in the process of transporting the luggage -- like when workers get into the container to load and unload luggage and when they go home after work.
Some gates are not equipped with proper equipment to screen the workers, who are paid a low salary of VND3 million (US$137) a month, he said.
He called on the police to launch a campaign to stop the baggage theft at major airports.
Thang, in response to Thanh’s report, said management agencies are responsible for the issue and should not shift the blame on baggage handlers and foreign airports.
Luggage thefts are also frequent on domestic flights, accounting for 103 complaints last year, he said.
He himself received text messages complaining about airport luggage theft almost every day, he said.
“[You] should have self-respect living in a country widely known as a peaceful destination, and not allow baggage theft.”

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