A 25-year-old female cabin attendant for Vietnam Airlines has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle stolen goods into Vietnam, Tokyo police said Wednesday.
They also searched the airline’s Tokyo office.
The police suspect some 20 other Vietnam Airlines employees were also involved in smuggling and have asked five of them to surrender themselves for questioning. The copilot and four cabin attendants are currently outside Japan.
The cabin attendant who was arrested Wednesday, Nguyen Bich Ngoc, is suspected to transporting 21 stolen clothing items worth ¥125,000 aboard a special Vietnam Airlines bus from a hotel in Osaka Prefecture to Kansai International Airport last September.
She allegedly attempted to smuggle the stolen clothes at the request of a 30-year-old Vietnamese female resident of Japan who has been indicted for buying stolen goods.
Nguyen has denied the allegation, saying she was unaware the clothes were stolen, the police said.
She was also quoted as saying many of her colleagues had smuggled goods into Vietnam to earn extra income.
Nguyen is also alleged to have taken stolen goods worth ¥3 million to airliners and received compensation since last June.
A Vietnam Airlines copilot was convicted in 2009 of transporting stolen goods to Vietnam from Japan.