How safe is your hand baggage? あなたの手荷物は安全ですか?





"long-haul flight"が冒頭に出てきますね。


Last year, the Hong Kong police reported more than 60 cases of inflight thefts, an increase of 25% from the year before.



rob A of B=AからBを奪う。今日の記事は受け身で使っていました。


  • nap : [noun] うたた寝。短い睡眠、特に日中
  • theft : [noun] 盗難。不当に何かを盗む、もしくは奪うことの行為
  • arrest : [verb] を止める、抑える。拘束する、逮捕する
  • at large : [other] 逃走中で。逃れられたか、まだ捕えられないか
  • incident : [noun] 事件。とくに暴力、犯罪、危険な出来事など何かが起こること






It is not unusual for unwary business travelers to lose valuables and have their suitcases pilfered in strange cities and hotels. However, going by a rising trend in the last few years, they have one more worry to take care of: their carry-on baggage during flights.

You cannot afford to lower your guard even during flights because a thief posing as a fellow passenger or a flight attendant might be targeting your overhead locker. Although air theft has been reported for several years, the audacity of the thieves has increased in recent months. The latest incident, the biggest inflight theft ever, occurred on May 2 on an Emirates flight from Dubai to Hong Kong. Turkish watch merchant Mustasa Saci was robbed of $200,000 in cash and two luxury watches worth $60,000. One of the watches was a Rolex and the other a Patek Philippe. The passenger discovered the theft only after he disembarked from the plane.

This is not the lone instance of inflight theft. Many reports have pointed out that long-haul flights coming into Asia, particularly Hong Kong, are targeted the most. This was confirmed by a report in the South China Morning Post in August last year. In December 2015, a passenger on an SAA flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong was robbed of foreign currency and jewelry worth thousands of dollars. As many as 45 cases of stolen items in cabin baggage were reported by passengers after July 2015 at Hong Kong airport alone. Through the whole of 2015, Hong Kong authorities reported more than 60 cases of inflight thefts, an increase of 25% in such occurrences. More than twenty thieves have been arrested in separate incidents, but this number is believed to be only about 5% of the number of criminals engaged in such activities. The stolen items during flights usually comprise cash, jewelry, and smartphones.

However, inflight thefts are by no means exclusive to Hong Kong-bound flights. As reported by NBC TV, a woman lost her purse on a flight from Los Angeles to Paris. Another case is being investigated by Cebu Pacific Airlines (CEB) for a theft that occurred last year involving a flight steward who allegedly stole close to 8,000 yuan from passengers on a flight originating from the Philippines and bound for China. Some passengers caught the steward red handed while trying to flush the stolen money down the aircraft toilet. In another incident tha t occurred in August last year, three Chinese passengers were arrested for stealing cash and other items onboard an Egypt Air plane flying from Cairo to Dubai.

According to sources, the thieves carefully study their target even before boarding the flight. Then they travel in the guise of well-dressed travelers, choose aisle seats toward the rear, keep their own baggage near the target’s cabin bag, and make their move when the unsuspecting target takes a nap, visits the washroom, or is engrossed in a movie. Some criminals even travel business class to target the wealthiest businesspersons.

So how do you avoid being robbed onboard a flight?

For a start, you must be careful when you hang your coat overhead. Ensure that you have not left any valuable item in the pockets because your coat is an easy target for thieves. Second, make your bag stand out from the rest of the bags stowed in the overhead locker. This is because many bags look alike and it would be relatively simple for a thief to take your bag without you noticing it. Third, keep the zippers on your bag away from easy access; you can do this by placing your bag upside down or keeping the back to front. That will make it that much more difficult for any deliberate attempt to reach inside the zippers for your valuables. Fourth, always lock your carry-on bag so that nobody can open it while you are taking a nap or visiting the toilet--the thieves will have to carry your bag somewhere else to prise it open, which will be more cumbersome for them. Fifth, ; it might be inconvenient, but certainly worth it if you have an unwelcome visitor to the overhead locker.

Although airport authorities do not yet consider inflight thefts to be a rampant phenomenon that calls for desperate measures, it is nonetheless a growing trend, particularly since 2012. In 2012, only 43 cases of inflight theft were reported, but in 2013 it increased to 57 cases. It has only increased further since then.

The penalty for thieves is relatively light: the maximum punishment is three years in jail and a fine. But many accused get away with only few months (or even few weeks) behind bars. That is definitely not enough to dissuade them from engaging in air piracy because, if things go according to their plan, the rewards could be high and quick--much to the chagrin of the robbed passenger.



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