South African Airways (SAA) has identified two passengers it believes are responsible for robbing passengers on the flight path between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.
This comes in the wake of a much-publicised mid-flight robbery which occurred en route to Hong Kong at the beginning of September. It emerged that passengers aboard the SAA flight were robbed of their valuables while they were sleeping.
The missing cash and jewellery were later discovered by aircraft cleaners; seemingly abandoned by the mid-air raiders following an on-board inspecting by Hong Kong law enforcement officials.
SAA flags mid-flight robbers
Times Live reports that SAA flagged two passengers attempting to board a flight in Hong Kong after they were identified as being part of a syndicate of thieves operating on the Johannesburg route. The flight, which was scheduled to arrive in Tanzania, departed safely while the suspects were taken in for questioning.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed the events, adding that the airline was actively addressing the issue of mid-air robberies, explaining:
“Last week‚ two passengers who wanted to travel from Hong Kong to Tanzania via Johannesburg were denied travel on our flights‚ as those individuals have previously been associated with incidents of theft on board our aircraft.
Based on collaboration and information shared with the law enforcement agencies‚ we are now better placed to be on the look-out for these individuals.
Once we are able to pick them up in the system‚ part of the processes we have introduced include conducting interviews with them to establish reasons or circumstances under which they travel.
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We were able to determine certain similarities between two passengers who claimed to have no connection or association.
There were other details that heightened our suspicions about them‚ especially in the light of previous association with incidents of theft on board.”
SAA says Hong Kong route is known for thievery
Tlali explained that while mid-flight theft was not unique to SAA operated aircraft, passengers needed to be extra vigilant on-board flights to Hong Kong. SAA has two flights that operate daily between Johannesburg and Hong Kong, namely flight SA 286 and SA 287.
Tlali confirmed that other airlines also experienced issues with theft along the Hong Kong route, alluding to the nefarious presence of criminal syndicates working this specific flight path, saying:
“While we acknowledge that mid-flight theft is not a phenomenon unique to SAA‚ as other carriers operating to Hong Kong also experience this problem‚ we would like to restate the message that our passengers must be extra vigilant on those flights‚ take care of their high value, and work with our crew to identify the suspects so that the airline can take a stance against them.
In addition‚ we would like to encourage our passengers‚ especially in cases where the suspects have positively been identified‚ that they must open criminal cases against such individuals.”
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