Two customs officers at Manila Airport in the Philippines were caught on video stealing 5,100 baht from a Thai tourist at a baggage check counter.
The video of the two customs officers stealing money was posted on Facebook by Piyawat Gunlayaprasit on February 22.
Piyawat reported that he heard another Thai tourist, identified as Kitja Tbabtim, shouting that his money had disappeared while he was in line waiting for a baggage check. The officers claimed that there were no CCTV cameras in the area and urged Kitja to contact the lost and found department.
However, Piywat noticed two airport officers talking to each other suspiciously, so he decided to record a video of them. The video revealed a female officer stuffing something, believed to be cash, into her colleague’s pocket.
Piyawat decided to hand the video to Kitja. They then showed the video to the offending officers, who admitted to the theft and returned the cash. The female officer also asked Piyawat to delete the video, and he pretended to delete it before exposing it on social media.
Piyawat stated in his Facebook post…
“At that time, I did not know what I should do. There were no security guards or police officers at the spot. What I and the victim could do was shout out loud and try asking for the money back. I saw many people warn travellers about thefts at this airport, but no one had evidence. I have clear evidence now. Be careful, everyone. #TheftCheckpointPleaseBewareYourBelongings.”
The victim, Kitja, later updated the situation on Facebook, saying that he sent the video evidence to the police and the airport department of the Philippines. The officers in the video were temporarily suspended and banned from entering the airport while further investigation into the case is ongoing.
The two Thai travellers were believed to be at Manila Airport for transit flights to Japan. Most Thai tourists visiting Japan opt for a connecting flight to Manila as a cheaper travel option.
This is not the first time customs officers at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been accused of stealing from tourists. Two weeks ago, Thai tourist Saruta Jansila warned people to be wary of light-fingered officers at Manila Airport.
Saruta reported that she and her husband had been suspicious of the officers’ behaviour during a baggage check and later discovered that 10,000 baht in cash was missing from their belongings. After confronting the officers, their money was mysteriously returned. She said…
“It was so scary. They committed crimes but looked so chilled.”
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