Chinese man sentenced to 8 years in jail for stealing on Vietnamese flight

By Staff reporters   December 10, 2017 | 11:29 am GMT+7

The man was also wanted by Chinese authorities for theft at the time of the crime in Vietnam.

A court in Hanoi sentenced a Chinese man to eight years in prison on Friday for in-flight theft, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Ding Ying Jun, 47, was found guilty of stealing nearly VND400 million ($17,600) from two passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi last April.

According to the indictment, Ding deliberately changed seats after takeoff to sit near two fellow business class passengers. While they were distracted, he proceeded to take VND100 million and $400 in cash from one passenger's handbag and an envelope containing $13,000 from another, before returning to his original seat.

After noticing Ding acting suspiciously, the chief flight attendant asked passengers to check their luggage, and the theft was discovered. Ding denied the allegations but was later spotted throwing the stolen money back into a baggage compartment. He was handed over to Hanoi police upon arrival.

At the trial, Ding continued to deny the charges and insisted he had found the stacks of cash, a claim dismissed by the court. Ding was also wanted by Chinese authorities for theft at the time of the crime.

Vietnam carriers reported 11 cases of in-flight thefts in the first four months of this year, a staggering jump from just one case a year ago, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

Vietnamese law treats theft as a criminal offense if the stolen property's value exceeds VND2 million ($87). Ding's jail term is among the heaviest punishments to be handed down for an in-flight theft case, as many Chinese culprits caught in recent years have just been fined and deported.

In October, a court in Da Nang also sentenced another Chinese man to eight years in jail for stealing more than VND400 million on another Vietnam Airlines flight. It was the first time in recent years such a severe sentence was imposed for the crime.

Last April, a Hanoi court sentenced a Chinese man to two years in jail for stealing $6,200 on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Da Nang to Hanoi.

 
 
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