A shocked businessman took to Facebook to warn others of thieves making their way on business class flights.
The incident occurred while Faiz Mokhtar flew back to Kuala Lumpur from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam via Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on Aug. 18.
As Mokhtar settled in his seat, one of his four business partners noticed a male passenger taking his laptop bag from the overhead cabin.
When he checked for himself, the bag sure was gone.
Mokhtar, who sat in the second row, approached the passenger in the fourth row and caught him red-handed.
“I went to the man’s seat and caught him off guard going through my bag and his left hand holding some of my foreign notes currency (EURO and USD, which I am 100% sure are mine), looking like he was about to keep them in his pocket.
“I confronted him with the rest of my partners surrounding us. I did a thorough checking of my bag, because MY BIGGEST CONCERNS were my travelling documents (passport etc.) and whether he had implanted any illegal items, in an attempt to use me as his transporter (read: drug mule syndicate).”
Following the confrontation, Mokhtar and his partners called a flight attendant to manage the situation.
The suspect was apprehended and forced to depart before the flight took off.
“Fortunately the man didn’t become aggressive and this all happened before take off (during the busy period of passengers boarding the flight). Security and police were called in, report was made, the pilot and crews declared the flight was not safe to take off until the man is taken off the flight.”
The group then learned that the incident could be part of a modus operandi conducted by a syndicate not only in Vietnam but also in China and Hong Kong.
“Apparently, the crew informed us, there is a syndicate that has been conducting this modus operandi on China, Hong Kong and Vietnam flights.
“That guy was from Hong Kong and he is flying to KL with no return ticket, probably his route depends on his ‘loot.’”
Mokhtar urged others to keep an eye on their belongings — even in business class — as his experience tells.
“This syndicate is quite bold because once in-flight, there is no cctv footage as proof, and the conflict of which laws of the land should be applied as they’re considered to be in international zone. I might be wrong on this as I myself am unsure what actions have been taken to-date. Oh, the syndicate will even play language barrier act to get away with this.
“So everyone, please be careful of your belongings, and use extra safety tool i.e. bag lock, and do travel in groups when possible. Criminals are indeed everywhere even on air and they sure can afford business class!”
Mokhtar’s post has since received over two million views, 35,000 shares, 14,000 reactions and 7,400 comments.
Many thanked him for sharing his experience and warned their loved ones.
In a statement to The Star, Malaysia Airlines said that its crew is trained to deal with such situations.
“The operating crew offloaded the passenger and lodged a report with the local police. MAS’ cabin crew are trained to deal with such situations.
“They are also prepared for various situations to ensure our passengers have a safe and pleasant journey.”