Vietnam Airlines has suspended a chief flight attendant for smuggling hundreds of packs of cigarettes from South Korea to Vietnam.
Nguyen Thi Thu Hoai may face further punishment from the airline after she was found to have brought 38 cartons, each of which contained up to ten 20-cigarette packs, on a flight from Incheon to Hanoi on July 25.
Hoai was earlier fined VND20 million (nearly US$1,000) by the airport authority for violating trade regulations. The allowed duty-free amount of cigarettes in Vietnam is up to 400.
Hoai denied making profit in the smuggling, claiming that mechanics and colleague Nguyen Van Luy had asked her to buy the tobacco for him.
Luy, who confirmed her story, was fined VND20 million.
On July 25, Noi Bai airport security staffs caught Luy taking two bags of the cigarettes from the Vietnam Aircraft plane flying from Incheon.
The bags contained 24 cartons of Parlimen, seven Caster cartons and seven Esse.
Hoai’s colleague Nguyen Bich Ngoc, 25, last March was apprehended in Japan on suspicion of attempting to smuggle stolen goods from Japan to Vietnam.
Japanese police found Ngoc allegedly tried to transport 21 items of clothes worth $1,200 on a bus specific for Vietnam Airlines’ staff from a hotel in Osaka Prefecture to Kansai International Airport last September.
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.
With smuggling by flight crews getting rampant, Vietnam Airlines in early March banned their staff from carrying large suitcases.