Police in Ho Chi Minh City fined a Chinese national VND1.5 million (US$71) on Thursday for stealing from another passenger aboard a Vietnam Airlines flight.
Wang Xin Gao, 41, had been arrested the previous day during a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Tuoi Tre reported.
Police said Wang was caught trying to steal a wallet worth less than VND2 million, the value threshold for a theft to be treated as a crime.
As such, he only faces an administrative fine.
Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said the agency will impose its own punishment, like banning him from flying on Vietnam Airlines or asking the government to expel him from the country, permanently.
A flight attendant saw him going through a bag stored in the last row of the plane and reported it to the cabin crew.
Wang was arrested by aviation security staff after the plane landed.
Investigators say he belongs to a gang of thieves made up of ten Chinese nationals that targets passengers on Vietnam Airlines flights in Asia and across Vietnam.
He's the fifth member of the gang to have been arrested, according to Tuoi Tre. Vietnamese police reportedly became aware of the gang last year.
The authorities say his passport reflected numerous short stays, sometimes less than a day, in many Southeast Asian countries.
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