Liu Yanjun, 40, pleaded guilty to stealing a brown trolley bag containing clothes and documents from Mr Lim Hock Siong, 63, on board a Tiger Airways flight from Macau to Singapore on Oct 19.
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Preventing thefts in the air
The Straits Times, Aug 7, 2013
The next time you hop on a plane for a quick getaway, stay alert: Short-haul flights appear to be the favoured hunting ground of plane thieves.
There has been a spike in thefts on board planes this year - 37 cases were reported within the first seven months of this year, compared with 43 cases for the whole of last year and just one in 2011.
The thefts were all committed on regional short-haul flights to Singapore and in economy class cabins, say the police.
Over the last year, instances of cabin theft have taken place on flights coming from airports in 13 cities. Of these, seven were Chinese cities: Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen. The others were Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Surabaya.
Thirty people have been arrested so far this year, while 36 were caught last year. Most of those arrested were from China.
Local and regional carriers tell SundayLife! they take precautions to prevent in-flight thefts and train their cabin crews to be vigilant.
SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, Tigerair and Jetstar say they make announcements before or after take-off to remind passengers to keep a close watch over their belongings. Scoot Airlines declined to comment.
A spokesman for Tigerair adds that the budget airline has "banned known criminals and suspects from our flights and established procedures for summoning the police to handle suspects on arrival".
SilkAir says its cabin crew is "trained to respond to various situations, which includes safety, security or any other issues that may arise during the course of the flight".
"In the event that any suspected theft is reported, SilkAir will inform the relevant authorities for security personnel to be on standby upon arrival at the aircraft's destination," says a spokesman.