Chinese gang robs fliers mid-air!

Chinese gang robs fliers mid-air!

National carrier Air India has detected an international Chinese gang robbing cabin baggage of passengers on board international flights operating on Delhi-Hong Kong sector.

The Civil Aviation ministry was alarmed after it received five complaints from passengers about missing valuables and cash kept in bags in overhead lockers of planes.

The ministry and Air India officials swung into action and found  with the assistance of Hong Kong security officials that the Chinese gang had stolen cash, electronic gadgets and other expensive items belonging to passengers of Jet Airways, Cathay Pacific and Air Mauritius.

Ten similar robberies were reported by the Indian private carrier operating on Delhi-Hong Kong route along with Air India.

Interestingly, the Chinese gang, reveal ministry sources, have marked both the Airlines as their flights take off for Hong Kong from Indira Gandhi international airport, Delhi, late at night.

The gang, which operates in pairs, travels in the aeroplanes and identifies vulnerable passengers when they are fast asleep by taking out items from bags that are open and kept inside the overhead locker.

Active for seven months

The gang has been active on this circuit since at least seven months. The civil aviation ministry had sought cooperation of the  Hong Kong government to zero in on the culprits since the investigation here ruled out any involvement of crew of both the airlines.

Ministry sources said Hong Kong intelligence agencies as well as their airport police have conducted a thorough investigation at their end since, technically, they are empowered to act against  crimes taking place in airborne planes.

Only the country where a plane lands has the jurisdiction to probe any unlawful activity that took place in air, explained a senior ministry officer.

Now, suspected people are being denied access to the airlines. As a precautionary measure, the airlines crew have been cautioned to ensure seat-wise boarding to avoid parking
belongings in overhead lockers above other passengers’ seats.

It has been noticed that the gang members purposely keep their bags in lockers above others’ seats since that would give them the  opportunity to fiddle and steal from other luggage while pretending to be looking for their own stuff.

The passengers are also being requested to lock their cabin baggage and the onboard airlines staff has been advised to videograph the journey.

Travel agents selling air tickets to the Chinese gang have also been identified and the investigators are trying to find out their connivance, if any.
DH News Service

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