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Prosecutors Accuse Man Of Stealing $23,000 Cash From Passengers While On Plane: REPORT

Image not from story (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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A man allegedly stole over $23,000 from three people on a cheap flight from Vietnam to Singapore, CNN reported Wednesday.

52-year-old Chinese national Zhang Xiuqiang has been charged for allegedly stealing from fellow passengers. The theft occurred aboard a flight operated by Scoot, the budget wing of Singapore Airlines. The incident was confirmed by an airline spokesperson who recounted the event to CNN.

During the flight Dec. 16, Zhang allegedly stole substantial sums from three separate passengers. He reportedly took 3 million Vietnamese dong (approximately $123) from a backpack, 510 million Vietnamese dong (around $20,950) and a 50 Singapore dollar note ($38) from a black messenger bag, and a combination of $1,000 and 930 Singapore dollars ($700) from an envelope in a gray bag, according to the charge sheets, CNN reported.

The theft was discovered mid-flight, prompting immediate action from the cabin crew, CNN noted. “Our cabin crew was alerted by a passenger to a suspected theft in the cabin and activated the Airport Police Division,” the airline’s spokesperson stated. “The involved passengers were escorted off the aircraft by airport authorities for further investigation, and disembarkation proceeded as usual for the rest of our passengers.” (RELATED: High Value Container With $20 Million Worth Of Contents Stolen From Toronto Airport)

The authorities escorted the involved passengers off the aircraft for further investigation, while the rest of the passengers disembarked as usual. Recent reports have highlighted similar incidents, including a warning from Hong Kong police about a spike in thefts on inbound airplanes and a crackdown by Cathay Pacific Airways on petty thefts by its own cabin crew, CNN reported.

Zhang, who is currently under police custody, faces severe penalties if convicted. The charges against him could lead to up to three years in jail, a fine, or both for each count of theft. In response to the incident, Scoot has emphasized the importance of vigilance among its crew and passengers. “Our operating crew are trained to be vigilant and alert authorities of any suspicious behavior on board our flights,” the airline stated, advising customers to safeguard their valuables at all times, according to CNN.