Last updated: 04:19 PM ET, Fri January 15 2016

South African Airways Believes Recent Robberies are Connected

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | January 15, 2016

South African Airways Believes Recent Robberies are Connected

South African Airways announced Friday that the airline suspects a crime syndicate may be behind a recent string of robberies taking place during flights.

According to Alexander Smith of NBC News, South Africa’s national airline has reportedly blacklisted one passenger and is considering changes to security measures following three thefts on its Johannesburg-to-Hong Kong route over the last three weeks.

The incidents started on Christmas Eve when a Hong Kong resident was discovered with cash and jewelry from another passenger. The alleged thief was released a short time after landing due to the victim refusing to press charges in order to get their money back immediately.

While the victim did not press charges with the authorities—the money involved in the incident would have been held by police as evidence—South African Airways still decided to blacklist the man.

The airline and local officials confirmed the robberies have carried over into the New Year as well, with South African Airways spokesman Tlali Tlali releasing a statement to NBC News:

“The incidents occurred within a short space of time on one route to give rise to suspicion that a syndicate could be involved. We are extremely concerned that we have experienced such unfortunate events that leave a bad aftertaste on our passengers' flight experience. We sincerely apologize for these and are exploring a number of practical interventions to eliminate their re-occurrence.”


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