Thursday, July 30, 2015

Travelers Beware

My brother sent me this email warning. 


Daylight Robbery on a flight to Hong Kong.... Apparently it's quite common now-a-days… 
Putting your handbag on the floor is unsafe but we got no choice. Maybe we should strap the bag on to the safety belt too. 

As for bigger bag, it's best to put in the opposite compartment where we can see when someone comes to take away or opening it.
If you put your bags in the compartment directly above your head, they are difficult to see. 

Please take 2 minutes of your time to read the message below. This can happen on any airline going to any destination. These are very hard times for a lot of people… and many turn to CRIME!!! 

I would like to draw your attention to an attempted robbery on a flight into Hong Kong last week. With an hour to go, during the flight, I thought I noticed my bag being replaced in the overhead locker. I wasn't sure and decided it was probably a fellow passenger, moving it to access their own bag. 

I dismissed any thought of any wrong doing, but upon arrival in HK, something told to me to retrieve the bag, just to make sure nothing suspicious had occurred. When I opened the overhead locker (not above me) and saw my leather bag was the only one occupying the space… I knew there was a problem. 

I examined the content, only to find all of my wife's jewellery, along with some cash had been stolen, during the flight. 
I raised the alarm and my wife and I quickly blocked both aisles to stop anyone at the back of the plane disembarking....there were around 120 passengers… 

My wife and I both shouted for assistance from the stewards and stewardesses. Eventually a steward told me that security had been called but passengers were becoming very agitated and unwilling to show patience or understanding… they just wanted to get off the plane... My wife and I were the only people controlling the passengers. 
I pleaded with the passengers to check their own bags at which point three fellow travelers reported they had also been robbed. 
It was only at this point, did I see any evidence from the cabin crew that they were willing to provide any meaningful support. 

I vaguely remember seeing a passenger wearing black, sporting a white base-ball cap and pleaded with the rest of the passengers to see if they could remember anyone fitting that description. 

It turned out to be a passenger standing in front of me, who once he was identified and his possessions checked… he proceeded to offload money, jewelry, camera equipment and false documents, running into tens of thousand of dollars… all stolen goods from the aircraft passengers.  

By this time security had boarded the plane, the Captain had been informed and was standing in the rear section watching the events unfold. 

Eventually a policeman boarded the plane and I was able to explain the events leading up to my apprehending the thief. I have since been informed… this criminal activity is reaching epidemic proportions and the local authorities had already caught three thieves (with 30 already on remand since early December 2013) on flights into HK… and the distressing part is that all the criminals came from the same town in China. 

It is estimated that only 5% are being caught judging by the reports of passengers contacting the police after they have arrived at their destination. 

They sit in the back row of the plane observing where bags are placed… behind or away from the passengers who own them… and they systematically pull them from the overhead lockers while the passengers rest or watch movies. They then take them to the back of the plane and steal any valuable contents. They prey on foreign airlines as the penalties are so lenient… and the pay-off makes it worth the risk..!! 

I naively have never thought of robbers operating on planes, but now I have experienced it first hand. 

Here are a few take-aways: 

1. Hand luggage should ALWAYS be locked. 
2. Do not assume luggage under your seat is safe... One passenger had her purse plundered by the guy sitting next to her while she slept..!! 
3. If in doubt, wear or keep any valuables ON YOU, at all times..!! 
4. Don't assume, like me, that everyone on a flight is a law-abiding citizen. 
5. Do not assume business class travel is secure... Robbers can be wealthy. 
6. If possible… place a small bell or jingle attached-to or inside your bag… so that whenever it's opened or moved… there would be a sound. 


Mokihana said...

Now that's scary. Thanks for the warning. If I ever fly anywhere, I will remember this.

Lorna said...

Absolutely disgusting. Times can't really be that hard for these thieves if they can afford to be on a flight!

K and S said...

good advice! thanks for sharing.

Honolulu Aunty said...

Terrible, those people!

Told my daughter to put a bell and lock on her backpack since she will soon be traveling.

At the collectible show, one of the vendors told us about a well dressed group of Chinese tourists who seemed like they would be good customers, asking to see this and that, and meanwhile, the best merchandise in the cases were stolen. Used to be the gypsies that had the bad reputation, but now Chinese pirates!

Kay said...

I've heard about this and I'm being more cautious now. We always make sure one person stays back while the other one goes to the bathroom so our things are never unattended.

Mark Shelby said...


Tie a string from your bag to your arm! ; )

jalna said...

No can even relax on the plane ride now yah, Moki.

That's what I'm thinking too, Lorna.

Welcome, Kat.

Whaaaa, Aunty. That makes me so mad.

I thought about you, Kay.

For real yah, Mark!

Susan said...

I had my hubby read this since he'll be traveling in a few days. Tks Jalna!

Leslie's pics said...

HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! Now i'm gonna be all paranoid everytime I go on a flight! How am I gonna pass out now!?!?!

jalna said...

I told Wendell about it too, Susan. He said he already read it on my blog. I thought he didn't read my blog. Now I cannot talk stink about him.

The way you pass out on the plane, Les, they could take their time looking through your stuff.

Kay said...

I just something on Facebook that my cousin posted about luggage getting stolen off the carousel at the Kauai and Maui airports. Good grief! Now I'm really going to get paranoid.

jalna said...

Kay, I've always worried about that too! A long time ago they used to check the baggage claim numbers upon exiting, but that was a long time ago.

Nippon Nin said...

Thank you for the valuable information. I thought the couple is heroic! I don't think I can act like you? Blocking 120 passengers off the airplane?! I'm with with Leslie, I will be paranoid. I would like to be first at carousel so that no one steal my luggage. I'm thinking of spraying my suitcase with gold paint.

jalna said...

That's such a good idea, Akemi!