Vietnam Airlines copilot linked to shoplifting ring

Kyodo

Police arrested a Vietnam Airlines copilot Wednesday on suspicion of transporting items stolen by a Vietnamese criminal group.

Dang Xuan Hop, a 33-year-old Vietnamese, has denied knowing that the goods were stolen but admitted he “received $100 in return for” transporting the items each time, the police said.

They suspect he transported the items once or twice a month since at least last year.

Shoplifting by the theft ring started around 2006 at drugstores and elsewhere nationwide. To date, 85 people have been arrested, while the value of cosmetics, clothing and other items stolen is believed to amount to about ¥140 million.

The police believe some of the stolen items were sent to Dang Xuan’s accommodations in Japan and he carried them on board aircraft in his hand luggage.

The hand luggage of pilots and copilots does not have to undergo customs searches.

The police searched six related locations Wednesday, including the airline’s offices at Narita, Chubu and Kansai airports, while investigating how the stolen items were distributed.