Dubai: Three Chinese men were taken into custody for stealing cash and belongings of passengers on board an Egypt Air flight this morning (Monday). The suspects, travelling on flight MS 910 from Cairo to Dubai, were caught by flight marshals after a crew member noticed the suspicious behaviour of a passenger who was visiting the lavatory repeatedly.

Magdy Shoman, a manager at Egypt Air, told Gulf News that police have started the investigation. “The three Chinese men waited until everyone was fast asleep to open the overhead compartments to steal people’s property,” he said.

Shoman said the crew was alerted after passengers began complaining about missing belongings from their luggage stowed in overhead lockers. The crew asked passengers to remain calm and alerted on-board air marshals.

“At first, we couldn’t believe that there were thieves on the plane, but when it was brought to our attention by passengers, we assessed the situation before we took any action,” said Shoman.

The flight attendant then noticed the Chinese passenger’s suspicious behaviour and entered the lavatory to inspect it after the man came out.

“A marshal then entered the toilet and found stolen money hidden skilfully in the lavatory,” Shoman said.

This reporter was on the flight that took off from Cairo at 10.30pm on Sunday and landed here at 4am on Monday.

Two other Chinese passengers were also spotted reaching for the overhead compartments.

The three men were then restrained and monitored by aircraft crew and security for the rest of the flight.

In the meantime, flight attendants went through the aisles to help identify stolen bags and returned them to the passengers. The crew also made an announcement asking passengers to check their bags.

“The case is now with Dubai Police, who will be taking the case from this point on,” said Shoman. “They are now in custody so they won’t be returning to Egypt because the investigation will take place here,” he said, adding that this has become a growing trend on aircraft and thieves take advantage of sleeping passengers during late night flights.

A comment from Dubai Airport Police was not immediately available.