I was recently on a trip to Japan when I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to buy new luggage.
She advised me to look for models with an invisible zipper, “so ‘they’ won’t be able to cut the zipper and steal any valuables.”
I know by saying ‘they’, my friend was referring to the airport baggage screeners in Việt Nam.
My friend then illustrated how secure suitcases with invisible zippers are by showing me on her bags that the zipper is hidden once the case is closed.
“This is the only way to prevent ‘them’ from cutting the zipper,” she said, once again using an oblique reference to airport luggage handlers.
In the end, I was unable to find any luggage with this crucial criterion.
A man checks screened luggage at Nội Bài airport in Hà Nội
On our last day in Japan, I started to pack the tax-free goods I had bought in into my old, traditional zipper, luggage.
While doing the same, my friend, to my surprise, pulled out a large roll of sticky tape from nowhere (I bet she brought it from Việt Nam) and began to wrap it around her suitcase.
“Now I challenge ‘them’ to cut into my luggage.”
She said, proudly showcasing her ‘work’.
She wasn’t the only one.
Other people on my Japan tour just followed suit.
In just a matter of seconds, the entire roll of tape was gone!
My friend offered to do the same with my luggage.
I tried to tell her that I wasn’t sure it was necessary because I had locks on my bags.
She told me that such security never works, telling me about a time she had two bottles of wine stolen from her checked baggage and “could do nothing but complain on Facebook.”
Is it the best way to protect your luggage?
Another member in the group said she had the same experience, adding that complaining to the luggage screeners is never any help.
I eventually agreed to have my suitcase plastered in sticky tape!
I used to believe that reports of luggage being stolen when entering Vietnam were only unexpected accidents.
Now, after seeing so many of my companions being so serious about wrapping their luggage, I think I may have been wrong.
Authorities have repeatedly committed to tightening checks in the luggage sections of Việt Nam’s airports, but reports of luggage theft don’t seem to be stopping, forcing home-bound Vietnamese to resort to the ‘sticky tape method’.
A passenger reports her luggage being cut off upon arriving at Tân Sơn Nhất airport
I’m not concerned over the effectiveness of wrapping bags with tape, but rather with the fact that it is an issue travelers in Việt Nam must think about at all.
It hurts seeing that people have lost so much faith in security personnel at Việt Nam’s airports.
Why must people switch to ‘alarm mode’, as if thieves are all around, whenever they come to Việt Nam?
It shouldn’t be so easy to figure out that luggage wrapped in a tangle of stick tape is destined for nowhere but a certain Vietnamese airport.
By KIM VÂN
Source: Tuổi Trẻ News