Suspected thief caught rifling through fellow passenger’s bag on flight

One man has taken his flight experience between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur, and written a cautionary tale to netizens of keeping your eyes on your bags at all times, even in business class.

Faiz Mokhtar was about to take off for a business trip with four other colleagues on Malaysia Airlines, when one of his team noticed that a man had grabbed what looked like Faiz’s bag and taken it back to his seat in the fourth row.

I was on the short flight MH0751 from Ho Chi Minh City flying back to KL on 15/8/18, a working trip with my four…

Posted by Faiz Mokhtar on Friday, August 17, 2018

Checking to see if his bag was missing, Faiz was shocked to find the bag no longer there.

Yes, this kind of scam is happening in business class, on a major airline.

He writes that he then went to the man’s seat and “caught him off guard,” rifling through his bag with one hand, while holding some (stolen from him, Faiz reckons) foreign currency in the other.

Confronting the man along with his business partners, Faiz reclaimed his bag and quickly began to check that his travel documents were in order, as losing a passport mid-flight is a lot more worrisome that losing a hundred bucks, and also whether any illicit items had been slipped in the bag.

We’ve all seen Locked Up Abroad, and it rarely ends well.

Alerting the cabin crew, he reports that the man quietly relented, and police were called, while a report was made and pilots declared that the plane was not safe to take off until the suspect was removed from the flight.

Forcibly removed, the crew then told Faiz that the incident was part of a new syndicate that operated on flights between China, Hong Kong and Vietnam. The suspect was traveling on a Hong Kong passport, and had a one-way ticket to KL.

Faiz believes that another member of the man’s syndicate purposefully occupied the compartment directly above the suspect’s, forcing the alleged thief to then put his bag in above another’s seat, and giving him the opportunity to have more discreet access to another person’s luggage.

Calling the scene “quite dramatic” Faiz praised the cabin crew for their professionalism, and the way that the incident was dealt with effectively and swiftly, adding it was new terrain for them as they had never experienced a theft on board themselves.

Thanking lead flight attendant Ms Mazlinda, he praised her calmness and commitment to dealing with the situation, adding that she offered to stay behind to finish police paperwork, if necessary.

Faiz has said that the likelihood of more members being on board the flight is strong, as they work in groups, but it is near impossible to break the ring. Once the flight is airborne, there is no CCTV, and busting the culprits is tenfold harder.

Signing off, he warns the public to always stay aware, even when living the sweet life in business class.

MAS has confirmed the incident, saying that the passenger was removed and a police report filed. They have reiterated for passengers to stay alert, and keep their valuables with them at all times.

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