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In-flight criminal syndicates target overhead lockers

May 9, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Guard your belongings carefully on long-haul flights and don’t put them in overhead lockers, particularly if you’re heading to Hong Kong.

That appears to be the lesson from a lengthy spate of in-flight thefts from carry-on luggage aboard many airlines flying into Hong Kong over the past five years.

Gulf News has reported that the latest victim is a Turkish watch trader flying economy aboard an Emirates flight to Hong Kong.

The airline is investigating the man’s complaint that he lost nearly USD 260,000 in cash and goods.

The victim filed a police complaint in Hong Kong on Monday.

The theft appears to be the latest in a string of robberies attributed to organised crime syndicates targeting high-wealth individuals in flight. Flying economy class apparently doesn’t fool the criminals.

“Emirates is working closely with the police department and providing information to assist with their investigation,” an Emirates spokesperson said in a statement sent to Gulf News and published on Tuesday.

“There will be no further comments at this time from Emirates on what is an ongoing investigation.”

According to media reports, the trader lost two watches and cash while flying into Hong Kong from Dubai. For the total to have approached USD 260,000, either the watches were very expensive or there was an awful lot of cash involved.

Hong Kong Police figures revealed that from 2011 to mid-2015, 222 thefts of jewellery, cash and smartphones on flights into Hong Kong totted up losses of about USD 8.88 million.

“Travellers should ensure their valuables and cash are with them and should not store these items in the overhead lockers,” police advise.

Written by Peter Needham

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