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Light-fingered mid-air robbers got cold feet

October 10, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Several passengers aboard a recent South African Airways flight to Hong Kong were outraged to find they had been robbed while sleeping – but the thieves had a sudden change of heart on learning that Hong Kong police were boarding the plane to conduct a full search.

Passengers on flight SA 286 from Johannesburg to Kong Kong complained to cabin crew that their valuables had gone missing from overhead lockers, the Sunday Times South Africa reported.

On landing in Hong Kong, passengers were told police were boarding to investigate. Hong Kong police have the power to conduct a thorough search if they think a crime has been committed. Section 2 of Hong Kong’s Theft Ordinance is taken seriously – the penalty for picking pockets, for instance, is generally 12 to 15 months in prison.

In this case, the thieves suddenly thought better of their scheme.

Police boarded and began searching passengers, starting with those who were considered to have acted suspiciously.

They found nothing – and no wonder. The thieves had abandoned their loot, leaving it around a few seats in the aircraft cabin.

SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that passengers on the flight had alerted cabin crew that they had lost their valuables, including money and a watch.

“One of the complainants was able to point out a few passengers who had behaved in a suspicious manner in the cabin and who were seen opening some overhead compartments while other passengers were sleeping.”

On landing, suspects were ordered to remain on the aircraft while the search took place. They were found to have nothing incriminating on them. The missing items were soon found on seats and were returned to the complainants.

Written by Peter Needham

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