Passengers wait for their luggage at a conveyor belt at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Tran Quang Du, 20, was unloading luggage from a Hong Kong Airlines plane that touched down at Tan Son Nhat two days ago.
Du admitted to police that he had noticed a smartphone in a suitcase that was slightly open, so he took it, and then proceeded to open a second case and steal another phone.
After finishing his shift, Du hid the cellphones in his jacket and was about to leave when he was stopped by guards at the airport.
Vietnamese airports, especially the large ones, are notorious with baggage thefts and extortion complaints. Last October, an employee at Tan Son Nhat had to return US$1,400 he pinched from a Japanese passenger's bag after the act was exposed by security.
Aviation authorities have pledged to fix the problem by installing more cameras and enhancing security checks.
Tan Son Nhat is the biggest airport in Vietnam. It currently handles 36 million passengers per year, which is way above its design capacity of 25 million.
Vietnam has settled on plans to expand the airport and is also planning to build Long Thanh Airport in the neighboring province of Dong Nai to handle the 60-70 million passengers per year Ho Chi Minh City is expected to receive in 2025.