Baggage Theft

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BAGGAGE THEFT In all the Indochinese countries transport is similar - as are the problems.

(1) To avoid theft I *always* use stainless bag protectors. When preparing to leave an airport secure area I loop the security cables together and secure to each other with a lock. this stops people 'helping' you by carrying bags in different directions and allows you to relax whilst locating transport.

(2) On exitting an airport, taxi touts demand to know where you are going. They often cannot speak much English but rather listen for the names of towns and cities. I always reply NOWHERE. Some have even offered to take me there - it has the effect of having most of them leave you alone.

(3A) The use of Pac-Safes requires the addition of a canvas bag to go on the outside of the stainless steel net of the Pac-Safe - otherwise you will end up re-engineering the airline baggage handling equipment if it snags your bag.

(3B) Bus baggage lockers are often where theft occurs. Sometimes a person is hiding in the locker waiting for the driver to close the doors. The idea is whilst you are riding the bus, locker boy is busy knifing his way through the passenger baggage stealing all the goodies. The aforementioned Pac-Safe, plus a flashing LED - that can just be seen near some opening - guarantees your bag won't be stolen or even touched.

(3C) Baggage travelling on a bus roof rack should be LOCKED to the rack or some immoveable object AND your baggage should be *tied down* to the rack, with rope, to stop it swinging around as they go around corners.

(3D) I often buy a second ticket and put my bag beside me on the seat. They won't complain - as you have paid for the privelege.

(3E) Never, ever use Chinese-made or other locks produced locally - the thieves know how to open them. Get a strong lock made in your country - then the thieves will face a lock picking challenge.

(3F) When travelling by boat (ferry or other) I am the older guy who sits on the deck wearing a gas-inflated life jacket - alongside his trusty backpack. I always wrap my waterproof backpack in a stout plastic bag and seal the opening with Duct Tape. Over the top I put the Pac-Safe and outer canvas bag. Then I tie string cord (not 'string') to it and attach the other end of the cord to a tubular plastic boat fender (inflated). On 4 occasions over the past 15 years I have 'lost' the boat I was riding on - two sinkings were in the Philippines, one each in VietNam and Indonesia - but I and my baggage have always survived.

Moral - NEVER travel below decks when a boat is crowded - you will likely never make it out before the water makes it in. If you feel a boat is overloaded - GET OFF THE BOAT. Better late that drowned.

To many sailors in the Far East the 'Pilmsoll' line is decorative artwork - rather than a maximum load line.