Hong Kong Thieves Are Allegedly Targeting Sleeping Flyers

Oct 5, 2018

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If you’re planning on flying to China anytime soon, you might want to sleep with one eye open, or a notorious crime syndicate might swipe your watch.

Two passengers on South African Airways flight 286 from Johannesburg (JNB) to Hong Kong (HKG) said that they were missing cash and a watch from their bags (which were packed in the overhead storage compartment) after falling asleep. Hong Kong police officials and cabin crew burst into action, believing that this could be the work of a Hong Kong-based crime syndicate be behind 93 reported robberies totaling about R10.27 million (about $696,304 USD) from Jan. 2014 to Aug. 2015. All targeted flights were to areas in or around China.

The passengers that reported the missing goods were able to identify the culprits opening the overhead storage bins and turned them into the airline. After landing in Hong Kong, however, the police didn’t find any traces of the missing items when they took them into custody. The cabin crew later reported finding the cash and watch on the seats during a post-flight routine cleaning.

A similar incident occurred back in 2016 on the very same flight. Passenger William Becker reported R30,000 (about $2,000 USD) missing from the overhead bin after he had fallen asleep and was, like this week’s passengers, able to point out a suspect. The police searched him and found nothing suspicious. Becker never saw his money again.

In a statement to Independent Online, SAA insisted that they were “confident” in its onboard security protocol. “The airline will not hesitate to impose a ban on any passengers who are reported to have breached its conditions of carriage, as they form part of the rights and responsibilities between the airline and its customers,” said an SAA spokesperson.

H/T: Independent Online

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