Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4
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  1. #1
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    Work in Nigeria, live in Philippines
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    Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    My watch got stolen. Here are the watch details and how it happened, hope it can prevent some other members to get rob that way...

    Sea Dweller 4000
    Model: 116600
    Serial N# 876N7541

    This incident happened during a trip from Abuja via Dubai to Hong Kong (HK), all flights with Emirates. We are traveling to get married in HK.

    Wearing my Explorer II, in one of my backpack pocket, I had the SD4 in a Rolex travel pouch, a gold chain, a Mont Blanc 2009 Unicef edition and our wedding rings that were stored inside a box.

    I closed my backpack pocket with padlock after the security check at Abuja airport and I am sure all items were inside. I put my backpack in the overhead compartment inside the plane from Abuja to Dubai.

    During the transit in Dubai, the backpack was carried on a small trolley cart, still closed with the padlock and was not opened at all.

    Next flight, Dubai to Honk Kong (my fiancée got an upgrade to business so I am alone in the economy class), the bag is also store in the overhead compartment.

    After landing I went to get a pen to fill the immigration papers, open the pad lock which was still locked and then I discovered that the Mont Blanc is missing, the SD4 had also disappeared but the Rolex pouch was still there, the box with jewelry is also there but emptied!

    Cannot 100% really say where it has happen, from Nigeria to Dubai or from Dubai to HK, but afterward my (now) wife mentioned that she noticed, without worrying, that the passenger seated behind us in the flight Abuja to Dubai kept standing up to get things in/out of the overhead compartment. It could also be during the flight from Dubai to Hong Kong while I was asleep or went to CR..

    Hong Kong Police and Emirates representative in HK told us that it is happening on regular basis especially on flights originating from the Middle East to HK (few article on the web also mentioning the high frequency of mid flight thieves from middle east to HK).
    They also mentioned that these robberies are often done by organized criminals who buy plane tickets with the only objective to rob passengers during the flight, all classes are targeted. They are often organized similar to subway pickpockets (one steal, one watch, one carry the items afterward).

    Too bad the plane doors were already open when I discovered the robbery, and it took me time to get in touch with flight attendant. We were explained, that if the doors were not yet open then police is called and the usual scenario is that the missing items are found in the plane by the cleaners.

    Airline decline any responsibility and did nt show any concern and even less empathy.

    More than 25 years of extensive traveling in all the shittier and best place of the planet, I never lost a penny...

    Wedding rings were specially made in Dubai in March this year, my jeweler is redoing them and in the mean time just bought temporary rings in HK for the marriage day...

    Checked in HK for SD4, as usual in HK, lot of rare watches are advertised (Chrono24) but it is just a trick from local grey market shops to bring customer in and sell them anything else but the desired watch...

    Found a NOS one in Danemark for a premium...

    Lesson learnt?

    Watch out your overhead stowed hand luggage.

    Beware of HK grey dealers...
    Last edited by XR1200; 2 Weeks Ago at 14:33. Reason: editing the story for more details
    Rolex Date 1500 1965 || Seiko Seikomatic Weekdater 1965 || Rolex DateJust 68240 1986 || Seiko 5 SKZ205K 40th anni. LE 2005 || Rolex Explorer II 16570 2009 || Rolex Sea-Dweller SD4 116600 2015 || Casio G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF "Hydro" mod. 2015 || Seiko 5 SRPA31 PADI 2016

  2. #2
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Whoa this is a heck of a wakeup call for me. I just travelled extensively across europe and wager I had my rolex in my bag in the overhead compartment at least once or twice.

  3. #3
    Member RBleigh81's Avatar
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Quote Originally Posted by XR1200 View Post
    My watch got stolen. Here are the watch details and how it happened, hope it can prevent some other members to get rob that way...

    Sea Dweller 4000
    Model: 116600
    Serial N# 876N7541

    This incident happened during a trip from Abuja via Dubai to Hong Kong (HK), all flights with Emirates. We are traveling to get married in HK.

    Wearing my Explorer II, in one of my backpack pocket, I had the SD4 in a Rolex travel pouch, a gold chain, a Mont Blanc 2009 Unicef edition and our wedding rings that were stored inside a box.

    I closed my backpack pocket with padlock after the security check at Abuja airport and I am sure all items were inside. I put my backpack in the overhead compartment inside the plane from Abuja to Dubai.

    During the transit in Dubai, the backpack was carried on a small trolley cart, still closed with the padlock and was not opened at all.

    Next flight, Dubai to Honk Kong (my fiancée got an upgrade to business so I am alone in the economy class), the bag is also store in the overhead compartment.

    After landing I went to get a pen to fill the immigration papers, open the pad lock which was still locked and then I discovered that the Mont Blanc is missing, the SD4 had also disappeared but the Rolex pouch was still there, the box with jewelry is also there but emptied!

    Cannot 100% really say where it has happen, from Nigeria to Dubai or from Dubai to HK, but afterward my (now) wife mentioned that she noticed, without worrying, that the passenger seated behind us in the flight Abuja to Dubai kept standing up to get things in/out of the overhead compartment. It could also be during the flight from Dubai to Hong Kong while I was asleep or went to CR..

    Hong Kong Police and Emirates representative in HK told us that it is happening on regular basis especially on flights originating from the Middle East to HK (few article on the web also mentioning the high frequency of mid flight thieves from middle east to HK).
    They also mentioned that these robberies are often done by organized criminals who buy plane tickets with the only objective to rob passengers during the flight, all classes are targeted. They are often organized similar to subway pickpockets (one steal, one watch, one carry the items afterward).

    Too bad the plane doors were already open when I discovered the robbery, and it took me time to get in touch with flight attendant. We were explained, that if the doors were not yet open then police is called and the usual scenario is that the missing items are found in the plane by the cleaners.

    Airline decline any responsibility and did nt show any concern and even less empathy.

    More than 25 years of extensive traveling in all the shittier and best place of the planet, I never lost a penny...

    Wedding rings were specially made in Dubai in March this year, my jeweler is redoing them and in the mean time just bought temporary rings in HK for the marriage day...

    Checked in HK for SD4, as usual in HK, lot of rare watches are advertised (Chrono24) but it is just a trick from local grey market shops to bring customer in and sell them anything else but the desired watch...

    Found a NOS one in Danemark for a premium...

    Lesson learnt?

    Watch out your overhead stowed hand luggage.

    Beware of HK grey dealers...
    So here’s where I call BS. How many people out there are purchasing $1000 international plane tix on the off chance someone happens to leave multiple $$$ watches in an unattended bag?

    That said it sucks about your loss and wish you luck retrieving your belongings.
    lvt, japc and rob09 like this.

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  5. #4
    Member RBleigh81's Avatar
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Quote Originally Posted by XR1200 View Post
    My watch got stolen. Here are the watch details and how it happened, hope it can prevent some other members to get rob that way...

    Sea Dweller 4000
    Model: 116600
    Serial N# 876N7541

    This incident happened during a trip from Abuja via Dubai to Hong Kong (HK), all flights with Emirates. We are traveling to get married in HK.

    Wearing my Explorer II, in one of my backpack pocket, I had the SD4 in a Rolex travel pouch, a gold chain, a Mont Blanc 2009 Unicef edition and our wedding rings that were stored inside a box.

    I closed my backpack pocket with padlock after the security check at Abuja airport and I am sure all items were inside. I put my backpack in the overhead compartment inside the plane from Abuja to Dubai.

    During the transit in Dubai, the backpack was carried on a small trolley cart, still closed with the padlock and was not opened at all.

    Next flight, Dubai to Honk Kong (my fiancée got an upgrade to business so I am alone in the economy class), the bag is also store in the overhead compartment.

    After landing I went to get a pen to fill the immigration papers, open the pad lock which was still locked and then I discovered that the Mont Blanc is missing, the SD4 had also disappeared but the Rolex pouch was still there, the box with jewelry is also there but emptied!

    Cannot 100% really say where it has happen, from Nigeria to Dubai or from Dubai to HK, but afterward my (now) wife mentioned that she noticed, without worrying, that the passenger seated behind us in the flight Abuja to Dubai kept standing up to get things in/out of the overhead compartment. It could also be during the flight from Dubai to Hong Kong while I was asleep or went to CR..

    Hong Kong Police and Emirates representative in HK told us that it is happening on regular basis especially on flights originating from the Middle East to HK (few article on the web also mentioning the high frequency of mid flight thieves from middle east to HK).
    They also mentioned that these robberies are often done by organized criminals who buy plane tickets with the only objective to rob passengers during the flight, all classes are targeted. They are often organized similar to subway pickpockets (one steal, one watch, one carry the items afterward).

    Too bad the plane doors were already open when I discovered the robbery, and it took me time to get in touch with flight attendant. We were explained, that if the doors were not yet open then police is called and the usual scenario is that the missing items are found in the plane by the cleaners.

    Airline decline any responsibility and did nt show any concern and even less empathy.

    More than 25 years of extensive traveling in all the shittier and best place of the planet, I never lost a penny...

    Wedding rings were specially made in Dubai in March this year, my jeweler is redoing them and in the mean time just bought temporary rings in HK for the marriage day...

    Checked in HK for SD4, as usual in HK, lot of rare watches are advertised (Chrono24) but it is just a trick from local grey market shops to bring customer in and sell them anything else but the desired watch...

    Found a NOS one in Danemark for a premium...

    Lesson learnt?

    Watch out your overhead stowed hand luggage.

    Beware of HK grey dealers...
    Another lesson learnt, no reason to bring another watch with you beyond the one on your wrist

  6. #5
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Quote Originally Posted by RBleigh81 View Post
    So here’s where I call BS. How many people out there are purchasing $1000 international plane tix on the off chance someone happens to leave multiple $$$ watches in an unattended bag?
    I live in that part of the world and can tell you that's exactly what happens, they don't pay $1,000+ the tickets are purchased at travel fairs well ahead of time and can get massive discounts - happens here as well.

    OP - I feel for you, what a terrible time to have this happen, could not be worse.

    I have started padlocking my laptop carry on bags which is a bit of a pain since this was reported here about a year or two ago but very concerning that they got past the padlock as well.

    Was it a TSA padlock? If so I strongly recommend that all hand baggage is secured with NON TSA padlocks as hackers have made TSA keys and hence no security at all.

    The only requirement re TSA is for checked in luggage, if you don't use a TSA lock then the security team will cut open your bag so for carry on they should not be used. The fact it is padlocked shows the thieves that there is something valuable inside and they will target these, with TSA locks, first.

  7. #6
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    I fly a lot for work and this is how I do things.

    I never take hand luggage - it all goes in my main case including my laptop (cant see the point in lugging it around with me when I know I'm not going to use it until I get to my hotel - and no , I refuse to work on the plane - good book only).

    If I'm using my quartz Omega (which is usual as I like the quick-set hour when travelling) then I'll usually throw a backup watch in my case - usually a Vostok amphibian, Sometimes an old Citizen Promaster as they're both wind up and bullet proof. (I've had the battery go flat on the omega and I don't like anyone in China and the like playing with it.) also The others are good when I'm armpit deep in oil and grease at a foreign tool maker.

  8. #7
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    I fly a lot for work and this is how I do things.

    I never take hand luggage - it all goes in my main case including my laptop (cant see the point in lugging it around with me when I know I'm not going to use it until I get to my hotel - and no , I refuse to work on the plane - good book only).

    If I'm using my quartz Omega (which is usual as I like the quick-set hour when travelling) then I'll usually throw a backup watch in my case - usually a Vostok amphibian, Sometimes an old Citizen Promaster as they're both wind up and bullet proof. (I've had the battery go flat on the omega and I don't like anyone in China and the like playing with it.) also The others are good when I'm armpit deep in oil and grease at a foreign tool maker.

  9. #8
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher-N View Post
    I never take hand luggage - it all goes in my main case including my laptop
    r.
    I fly alot for work - and you're not allowed to put laptop in checked bag due to the battery, newer laptops (less than 2 yrs old, built for travel) have built in, un-removeable batteries. My kids have had stuff stolen from their luggage.

  10. #9
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    When I WAS travelling I tried to carry one bag and store it under the seat. I wasn't carrying watches, but I was carrying cameras. Downside is bathroom visits, especially if you're traveling alone. After that story, I guess the lesson is not to travel with anything more expensive than you have to and be paranoid.

  11. #10
    Member Alysandir's Avatar
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    Re: Mid flight thieves - Stolen SD4

    Quote Originally Posted by XR1200 View Post

    Airline decline any responsibility and did nt show any concern and even less empathy.
    I had a gear bag - containing upwards of 2000 USD worth of gear, including an irreplaceable gift to me from my teacher - "lost" while in custody of baggage handlers. The airline, United, told me I had to wait 30 days to file a missing baggage claim. Once the 30 days had passed, I filed the claim, and received a form letter saying that, since I did not report the loss immediately - in other words, what I wanted to do all along instead of waiting 30 days - my "inaction" absolved them of their responsibility for my bags. Basically, they lied to me about their procedures in what I believe was an intentional effort to ensure my bag would not be returned.

    I have since learned from a number of high-volume travelers that if you have things that are valuable that need to accompany you on travel, it is better to have them shipped to your destination than bring them with you on the flight. Basically, send anything you don't immediately need on your person via UPS/FedEx/DHL/etc to your hotel and then have it shipped to your home when you leave. Why? Because it's tracked every step of the way, shipping containers are more sturdy and securable, it's insurable, plus you don't have to haul it around.

    That was my lesson learned. Sorry to hear of your loss.

    Regards,
    Alysandir
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