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Police Bust Bali Airport Theft Ring

8 Held with More Arrests Expected as Bali Police Crack Down on Airport Workers Stealing from Passenger Baggage.

(11/4/2006) Members of a special team from the Bali Police assigned to beef-up airport security made 8 arrests last week among airport workers in a raid to break a ring of thieves pilfering the contents of passengers' checked baggage.

Included among those apprehended by police were ground handlers, porters, and security personnel who reportedly had developed a sophisticated scheme to steal items of value from the checked baggage of passengers.

According to local press reports, many of the victims targeted by the thieves were passengers traveling to Australia and Japan on Garuda who had personal items - such as video cameras, digital cameras, jewelry, and personal music devices taken from their checked luggage. The stolen items were reportedly either removed from unlocked bags or from zippered suitcases easily opened by inserting a sharp object, such as a ball point pen.

Bali police are giving the case a very high priority because of its wider implications for airport security, with investigations continuing to determine potential other accomplices who may have facilitated the thefts.