Forwarded as received seems genuine as one of my colleagues was "pick pocketed" similarly on a flight from Hong Kong to Korea.
I Sharing this story from a passenger who rode an airline going to HK. This can happen on any airline going to any destination. These are very hard times for a lot of people!!!
"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 jewelry, 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 my description.
It turned out to be a passenger standing in front of me, who once identified proceeded to offload money, jewelry, camera equipment and false documents, running into tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods.
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 authorities caught three thieves, just last week, (with 30 already on remand since early December) on flights into HK, with all the criminals coming 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 behind or away from the passengers and systematically pull them from the overhead lockers, while passengers rest or watch movies, take them to the back of the plane and steal any valuable contents.
They prey on foreign airlines as the penalties are so lenient, 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, there are a few takeaways:
1. Hand luggage should ALWAYS be locked.
2. Do not assume luggage under your seat is safe....last week one passenger had her purse stolen 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.
Top 10 airline baggage tips
The following advice should help you avoid many of the common problems that passengers have with carry-on or checked luggage.
Travel with only carry-on luggage
By using only carry-on luggage, you do not risk having checked luggage lost or stolen. Also, review AirSafe.com's information for general baggage resources for general limits on carry-on luggage, and also the page with tips and advice for carry on baggage.
Do not put heavy items in the overhead storage bins
While the weight limit for carry-on items is generally about 40 lbs. (18.2 kg.), even a much lighter bag may cause severe injury if it falls out of the bin. For more information, refer to the Air-safe Journal article discussing head injury risks from overhead luggage.
Put your contact information inside and outside every bag
In addition to this information, you should also put a copy of your itinerary inside every bag to make it easier for the airline to reunite you if you are separated from your luggage. Do this with your carry-on bag in case you are forced to check that bag at the last minute. For personal security reasons, you may want to use an address other than your home address.
Customize the look of your bag to make it easy to identify
Many bags on a flight may have a similar design, so customize the bag to make it easy to spot on a baggage carousel. This will keep other passengers from picking it up by mistake.
Keep valuable items with you
Money, laptop computers, electronic files, and other items of high value or importance should be kept in a carry-on bag, preferably one that is small enough to stow under a seat. The airline may insist on checking larger carry-on bags if the overhead bins become filled. Also, keep in mind that fors ome large and valuable items like a wedding dress, you may only be able to carry it in a checked bag.
Make sure that the airline tag on your checked luggage is for the correct destination
Every piece of checked luggage should have a three-letter airport identifier that matches your destination airport. If you are unsure of the code, ask the ticket agent or skycap.
Make sure that you keep the stub from your checked luggage
This stub is a critical document that will be needed if your luggage is lost by the airline or if you are trying to prove that you own a piece of luggage.
Immediately report the loss of checked luggage
If your checked bag does not arrive at your destination, immediately report this problem to the baggage agent on duty or to any other available representative from your airline.
Prepare to deal with a lost bag
Pack key items in your carryon bag like extra underwear or essential items for a business meeting so you can continue your trip if your checked bags are lost or delayed.
Don't pack hazardous goods
There are quite a number of items or materials, some of them not so obvious, that may pose a risk if taken on an aircraft. Visit AirSafe.com for its list of items restricted or banned from airline aircraft for more details.
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