7 Cambodian airport employees face up to 10 years in jail for stealing passengers' valuables

18:00 | 18.09.2019

A Cambodian court has charged seven Cambodia Airports baggage handlers with theft and aggravating circumstances, the crimes that can face a jail term of up to 10 years if convicted, a court spokesman and a local police chief said on Tuesday, reports Trend referring to Xinhuanet.com.

Police arrested them late last month for allegedly breaking open passengers' luggage and stealing their belongings at the Siem Reap International Airport in northwestern Siem Reap province.

Some suspects confessed to stealing passengers' valuables up to 100 times, the police said.

"The court has charged them with theft and aggravating circumstances under Article 353 and Article 357 of the Criminal Code," Yin Srang, a spokesman for the Siem Reap Provincial Court, told Xinhua. "The court has decided to put them in pre-trial detention."

Under the charges, the suspects could be imprisoned from three years to 10 years, according to the kingdom's Criminal Code.

The spokesman said the accused, all are men, had broken open passengers' or tourists' suitcases and had stolen their valuables from 2017 to Aug. 26, 2019.

Colonel Hang Sophat Phearom, chief of Siem Reap provincial police's minor crime bureau, said the group was arrested following complaints from the airport's security unit.

 "During their interrogations, some suspects confessed to the thefts and said they had broken into passengers' luggage up to 100 times," he told Xinhua, adding that after their arrests, police had seized evidence linking them to the thefts, including penknives used to cut luggage zips or break locks.

Phearom said police are searching for other accomplices who are on the run.

"I think after we have arrested these suspects, passengers feel safe now, not worrying about losing their valuables anymore," he said, adding that since the arrest, the police have not received any new complaint of losing passengers' belongings at the airport.

The National Police has reported that the airport's security camera footage had recorded their latest offences on Aug. 25-26.

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