Security officials at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi detained a Chinese man on Sunday for allegedly stealing $17,500 in cash from the luggage of other passengers on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City.
Staff detected a foreign passenger acting suspiciously as the plane was landing, a Vietnam Airlines representative said on Tuesday.
The flight crew said they saw the man deliberately change seats after opening the overhead luggage compartment and removing a bag that did not belong to him.
The chief attendant on the flight proceeded to ask two passengers who were sitting close to the man to check their luggage. One of them was missing VND100 million plus $400 in cash, while the other had lost $13,000.
The crew made a written report of the incident and handed the alleged thief over to security authorities at Noi Bai Airport, who subsequently turned him over to Hanoi police. The man's identity has only been revealed by the initials D.Y.J., a 47-year-old Chinese national, local media reported.
Police are investigating the case and considering pressing criminal charges against the man.
The representative from Vietnam Airlines confirmed that the company will tighten security on its flights to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
In February, officials at Tan Son Nhat airport also detained a Chinese citizen for stealing around $1,000 from two Japanese passengers on a plane before takeoff.
Last November, national carrier Vietnam Airlines uncovered 14 cases of foreign passengers attempting to steal property from fellow travelers. Most of the culprits were Chinese.