Organised pilfering from passenger luggage on the rise at BIA

by Madura Ranwala

The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is fast becoming a den of thieves and their latest victim is a poor housemaid whose valuables were pilfered as she returned after toiling in a West Asian country recently. She has lodged a complaint with the airport police that her cash and gold worth Rs. 241,000 were stolen from her bags presumably while they were being brought from the flight to the baggage belt.

Investigations have revealed that culprits are porters of Ratna Lanka Company hired by SriLankan Airlines. They have been robbing valuables like phones, gold and cash from the luggage of foreign and local passengers.

The BIA police said that they had arrested one suspect and the other suspect was evading arrest. Police had recovered part of the cash stolen from the woman from the arrested suspect and the gold had not been recovered yet.

Police sources said it was the third such incident in this year and there had been many incidents the suspects’ confession. About seven suspects had been arrested so far this year and some of them had been bailed out after being produced in court.

Airline sources said they had made repeated complaints about their passengers’ luggage being pilfered in the airport, but the authorities had not taken interest, then the travel trade had on its own tried to trap the suspects working as a group with the support of airport security and police.

Many such losses also went unreported, as victims often feel that it would only be a waste of their time to complain against well organised rackets, according to sources.

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