Manila money munch: Airport officer’s theft cover-up caught on camera (video)

Photo via Twttier/ CNN Philipphines

A security camera at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, captured the moment when an airport security officer tried to destroy evidence of a theft she committed – by swallowing the stolen money.

The Chinese victim, identified as Cai, told local media that the theft occurred at around 8am on September 8 while he was going through a baggage check. He noticed a female security officer checking his baggage was acting suspiciously.

According to Cai, the officer was holding something tightly in her left hand before putting it into her trouser pocket. Concerned, Cai immediately checked his bag and found his fears realised, three US$100 bills, about 10,850 baht, had disappeared from his bag.

Cai said he rushed to the head of the security team and told him that the officer might have stolen his money. The accused officer insisted that she had not committed the theft and no evidence could link her to the crime.

Cai decided to give up the money and continue his journey. After Cai left, the airport authorities reached out to him regarding the theft. The airport told him that CCTV footage clearly showed that the officer had stolen his money but destroyed the evidence by swallowing the banknotes.

The airport said it had reviewed the moment when the officer checked Cai’s bag but it was not clear when she took the money.

The suspicious officer looked very nervous when Cai realised her loss. Her colleague handed her a bottle of water. Then, the woman walked out of the baggage check area, turned her back to the counter and put the bills in her mouth.

The officer thought she could escape but did not realise she was facing a security camera.

In the footage shared by CNN Philippines, the officer rolled up three bills and put them in her mouth. It was difficult for her as she was seen using a handkerchief to cover her mouth when the bills came out. She used her finger to put them in her mouth and drank some water until she successfully swallowed them.

According to the airport, a committee will be formed to investigate whether the woman committed the crime alone or with other colleagues.

Philippine Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista apologised to the Chinese passenger and assured her that the airport official and others involved would face maximum punishment.

A similar incident occurred in February this year involving a Thai passenger. An airport officer attempted to steal approximately 5,100 baht from a Thai passenger but another Thai citizen spotted her act and managed to record a video of the incident.

The officer later returned the money to the Thai victim and asked the witness to delete the video and keep the incident secret. The Thai witness pretended to delete it but later released the video to the public, leading to the suspect officer’s arrest.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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