Man robbed of more than a million ringgit on Emirates flight to Hong Kong

Hong Kong authorities say there has been a increase in in-flight thefts over the years.

A 39-year-old passenger has reported a loss of HK$2 million (RM1mil) worth of foreign currency and valuables in an Emirates flight which was travelling from Dubai to Hong Kong on Monday. This is believed to be the biggest in-flight theft reported from the city.

The South China Morning Post reported that the passenger realised about the theft only after had stepped off the plane at Hong Kong International Airport. During the flight, the money and the other valuables were in his bag which was kept in the overhead cabin of the aircraft.

The man immediately informed the airline staff and asked for help. The airline authority called the police at about 6 am.

The Star cited a staff with knowledge of the investigation saying: "Initial investigation showed two watches and over US$200,000 (RM 783,310) was stolen from his bag and the total value was about HK$2mil (RM1mil)."

The police are treating this case as a theft and are still investigating the case. Till now no one has been arrested.

According to the source that is quoted by the Star, this could be the costliest case of in-flight theft in recent years. There were theft cases in the past, but all of them were valued at hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong dollars, not millions.

An Emirates staff member who had answered the airline's hotline, refused to answer whether it was the carrier's first reported in-flight theft for a Hong Kong-bound flight.

The South China Post reported that the Hong Kong authorities have seen an increase in in-flight thefts. Last year, there were 67 reports of thefts on flights bound for Hong Kong in the first 10 months. The combined loss was of about HK$4.83 million. One third of those cases were discovered by flight attendants.

According to the Star report, it compared with 48 cases and HK$2.61million in losses for the whole of 2014.

The Straits Times quoted another source as saying: "The criminals often posed as well-dressed travelers and preferred aisle seats. They scouted their prey before boarding and placed their own bags in the same overhead bins their targets used."