I was on the short flight MH0751 from Ho Chi Minh City flying back to KL on 15/8/18, a working trip with my four business partners.?
After putting in my laptop bag in my designated overhead cabin, I settled in my seat on the 2nd row, minding my own business. One of my partners who sat behind me noticed a fellow passenger taking my bag which he brought to his seat on the 4th row. My partner alerted me to check on my bag and true enough it was gone.?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).
We then alerted the stewardess who was quick to take the necessary actions. 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.
He was then forced to depart off. 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”.?It was quite dramatic as so many things could have happened and gone wrong. Yet, the cabin crew handled it professionally, even though it was her first time experiencing it first hand (cabin crew are well aware of this type of crime). My biggest gratitude and respect to the Lead Stewardess, Ms Mazlinda of Malaysia Airlines for her unwavering calmness and diligent work in ensuring the man being handled accordingly. To the extent she offered herself to remain in Vietnam to make the police report on behalf of me. Luckily, all paperwork matters can be done in-flight and Alhamdulillah we took off safely after an hour delay. The crew managed to calm the other passengers well despite suspecting some of the other syndicate team-members are still there hiding in between them.
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!