Catering staff held for duty-free thefts on planes

Catering staff held for duty-free thefts on planes

Duty-free items stolen from British Airways aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport are displayed during a police briefing on Frday. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
Duty-free items stolen from British Airways aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport are displayed during a police briefing on Frday. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

Eight employees of a food catering firm have been arrested on suspicion of stealing more than 180 duty-free items from perfume to watches from British Airways aircraft at Suvarnabhumi airport.

The arrests by airport police followed an investigation into a complaint made last month by an an airline representative. BA said duty-free goods stored for sale to passengers had been found missing from parked BA jets on 12 occasions.

LSG Sky Chefs Co is contracted to provide meals for BA passengers and the workers of the catering firm were considered the prime suspects. A subsidiary of the German carrier Lufthansa, LSG is the world's biggest airline caterer.

Investigators checked the caterers' working schedules on the days the items were reported missing from the planes and came up with eight suspects, said Pol Maj Gen Thammanoon Traithipayapong, the Samut Prakan police commander.

Sarayuth Sukthong, a 26-year-old driver, was taken in for questioning on Tuesday and his information led to the arrest of seven other colleagues a day later, said Pol Col Chutrakul Yosmadee, the Suvarnabhumi airport police chief.

Also arrested were two supervisors -- Kamolthip Rakkhaphan, 30, and Thawatchai Aimoach, 24 -- along with driver Warakorn Singkorn and four loaders: Apiwat Maneephop, 27; Boonlert Uppasai, 26; Natthapol Jadho, 28; and Wissanu Rummana, 21. All were charged with theft at an airport and possessing stolen items.

Pol Col Chutrakul said the gang worked in three-member teams when they had chances to board parked aircraft to search for valuable goods. One person would keep watch while the other two would steal the items. The stolen goods were sold online and the money shared among the culprits, he added.

Police seized 181 items including brand-name sunglasses, perfume, bags and spirits worth between 800,000 and 1 million baht from the apartment of one of the accused.


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