In yet another incident of theft from passenger luggage this time at AOT - Airports Of Thailand, Phuket International Airport. A baggage handler was caught and subsequently arrested for stealing a range of valuables including a mobile phone from a passenger.
Following on from a number of complaints received on the AOT Facebook page, airport authorities worked closely with local police to investigate these complaints and mounted a sting operation to catch the culprit. One passenger had recently returned from a trip to Thailand, reportedly received an email from her cloud account informing her that a new picture had been added to her account, from her recently lost Samsung Galaxy Note 5 at Phuket International Airport. The passenger provided the image to the AOT during the course of the investigation.
Photo Credit: Kritsada Meuanhawong
Upon investigation it was found the luggage handler, Attachai Kaewduang aged 25 was responsible for the missing phone. Police later learned that he had used passengers belongings before in fact had occurred many times previously. Police found a number of valuables he stole in addition to the mobile phone at his home.
Not surprisingly, the growing boom in airline theft involves passengers carry on luggage with the blame squarely centered around fellow passengers thieving from bags stored in overhead luggage compartments. It's thought this method of theft is far more profitable for thieves since laptops, cameras, jewelery and wallets are much more likely to be packed in carry-on bags than a checked suitcase.
In many cases once passengers have placed their carry on into the overhead locker, most forget about the risk of theft on board. There are a few simple steps though that passengers can take in order to minimize the in flight risk by stowing carry-on bags in an overhead locker where it can be visually seen by the passenger.
Additionally travelers should select a bag which can be locked or secured in some way. If the bag is not fitted with any type of locking mechanism, place it in the overhead locker with the zipper positioned on the bottom as a thief would unlikely risk removing the bag from the locker to access what's inside.
If you are planning to take a nap during the flight, place your valuables inside your carry-on. Do not leave expensive items or electronic equipment in the seat pocket, or in a bag on the floor.
When making a visit to the bathroom always take your valuables with you or put them into a high-security bag such as a Travelsafe from Pacsafe, I recently purchased this product myself, taking with my on my trip to Bali, Indonesia and can vouch for its usefulness. If you want to read about it, then take a look at my article 'Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L GII Portable Safe Reviewed'. The bag is reinforced with steel mesh and comes with a cable type lock feature to secure it to any fixed location.
In the event you find items missing from your carry on luggage, ask a cabin crew member to assist in locating the item/s. No matter if you are on a short or long haul journey by air, always remain alert for suspicious behavior and not just from fellow passengers, air crew have been caught with goods pilfered from passengers in the past and I don't think that situation is going to change anytime soon.