A local tour group on a VTL trip to Italy had their luggage stolen from their tour bus, resulting in extensive losses for at least three families.
According to Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News, one mother-daughter duo from the tour group lost S$15,000 worth of new designer bags, shoes, and clothes, as a result of the incident.
S$15,000 worth of luxury items stolen
The mother, surnamed Yeo, 50, told Shin Min Daily News that the theft happened on Dec. 18, while they were in Naples, Italy.
She shared that all their baggage had been placed on the bus and they had only discovered that it had been stolen after arriving at the hotel.
A total of eight pieces of luggage were taken – three from Yeo and her daughter, three from another family, and two from another individual.
The cargo hold of the bus was also found to have been damaged.
According to The Straits Times, Yeo's daughter, 19, said that the theft might have taken place while the group were having dinner.
Because all their shopping purchases had been packed in the luggage, the pair lost S$15,000 worth of their newly-bought luxury items, from bags to shoes, clothes, and other gifts.
Yeo told Shin Min Daily: "The worst part is, our clothes were also stolen, so on the night of and the day after, we were forced to wear the same items. My daughter's sunglasses, my TCM medication, and my anti-cancer medicines were also stolen."
A police report was subsequently lodged on the day of the incident, with the help of their tour guide.
The rest of the tour group helped by lending the pair daily necessities, like skincare products and chargers following the incident, said Yeo.
Difficult to enjoy trip
Another family who had three pieces of luggage taken told Shin Min that they found it difficult to enjoy the trip afterwards, as they continued to feel apprehensive and worried post-incident.
The family lost approximately S$5,000 worth of items from the theft, and spent another 1,000 euros (~S$1,500) to re-purchase daily necessities.
They added: "We're considered lucky, as the majority of our shopping items were in our carry-ons, and the items stolen were our winter clothes, makeup products, sunglasses, etc. However, our tax refund receipts were in our luggage, so we just won't be able to refund the taxes for our shopping."
First theft in over 40 trips to Italy
Speaking to Shin Min, the director of EU Holidays Wong Yew Hoong shared that the tour company would extend assistance to those affected in making claims from their travel insurance policies, and that the bus operator had also agreed to bear a portion of the loss.
According to Wong, the theft on Dec. 18 has been the only incident of its kind in over 40 VTL trips the company has organised to Italy.
He stressed that such thefts were rare, and that they had since changed bus operators for the company.
"We're very sorry for the incident, and will continue to do our best to help our travellers."
The tour group had entered Italy on Dec. 16, and are set to return to Singapore on Dec. 24.
On Dec. 15, Italy had announced that Singaporeans and Singapore residents will no longer be able to travel to Italy for leisure from Dec. 16, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022, due to a re-classification of Singapore's Covid-19 risk category.
Singaporeans entering Italy would need to adhere to a strict set of requirements, and customers who had made bookings through travel agents were advised to contact their agents for assistance.
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Top images via Shin Min Daily News