SEPANG – KL International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the region, has amassed a range of quirky items left by absent-minded travellers.
There are voodoo dolls, engagement rings, ikan masin, durian and even a British Airways pilot’s cap, just to name a few.
The Star was allowed a rare peek into Kuala Lumpur International airport lost and found room, which revealed diverse belongings left behind like MacBooks, passports, wallets, bicycles, television sets, rice cookers and even underwear.
“Once, a Bangladeshi man came and said he lost his friend,” said Lost and Found staff Nur Afidah Zahari, 27.
“Another time, I found a plastic bag with voodoo dolls inside.”
On average, about 1,700 items ranging from bags to jewellery are left behind yearly in Malaysia’s busiest airport. And only 26 per cent of these items are ever claimed. read more KLIA lost and found
While most of the items in the room are the usual bags, handphones and electrical items, the staff said they had seen the strangest things being left behind in the airport over the years.
“People have even left perishables here,” Nur Afidah said, citing how pork, ikan masin and durian were kept in a locker before they were disposed of after the stipulated three-day grace period for foodstuff.
The Star saw two Cartier engagement rings still in their boxes, which were left by a Chinese couple on transit here. Gold rings, Rolex watches, necklaces, earrings and wads of cash have also been left behind by travellers.
These valuables are kept inside a safe and could not be photographed. The dimly lit store room is located on the third floor of the airport.
The room has shelves of copies of the Quran, boxes of unopened duty free liquor and cigarettes, walking sticks, wheelchairs, camera tripods and designer bags.
There was even a brand new camera drone still in its box, which workers said was found abandoned in the common area in the departure terminal.
Other items included an Australian didgeridoo and air zam zam. read more Malaysia airport lost and found
In another section of the room, there were boxes filled with passports, MyKad, credit cards, driving licences, wallets, glasses and so on.
The department, manned by four personnel, gets about 10 calls a day for lost items.
Sometimes, Nur Afidah said, people would show up saying they had lost jewellery but were turned away when they could not properly identify or produce proof, like receipts of the items.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) general manager Mohd Arif Jaafar said: “Usually if we see something has been left there, we will monitor it for about 20 minutes. If no one comes to collect it, we will take it to the room. We will scan it for hazardous content, then catalogue and tag it.”
These items are kept here for up to one month. If no one comes for them after that, they are handed to the Customs or Department of Environment to be disposed of.
“You may think it is sayang (wasteful) to do so. But we have to follow the regulations. We cannot simply take other people’s belongings even if we can reuse the items or give them to charity.
“We have that intention but procedures do not allow us to do so. Maybe some groups can propose this and press for the rules to be changed. We would welcome that idea,” Mohd Arif said.
KLIA handled 22.9 million passengers in its terminal last year. There are 819 lost items currently sitting in the Lost and Found room.
The Lost and Found centre can be reached at 03-8776 4312. The email address is CARE@malaysiaairports.com.my.
Treasure trove of lost things at Heathrow
KUALA LUMPUR – If you feel bad for the couple who lost their engagement rings at KL International Airport, spare a thought for the woman who lost her wedding gown at Heathrow Airport.
British travel site TravelSupermarket unearthed a treasure trove of lost items in the world’s sixth busiest airport, in a comparative study from May 2015 to May this year.
In that period, British airports recorded 26,543 lost items (or 2,122 items per month).
This is nearly double KLIA’s average haul every year.
While most of the lost items were the usual clothing, electronics, bags and toys, the site reported that Lost and Found workers also had brushes with unexpected stuff being left idle around the airport last year.
This included a microwave oven, a wedding dress, a bottle of holy water and an envelope stuffed with Viagra pills.
Airport workers also found three sets of fake teeth around the terminal.
The study noted that about 24 per cent of the clothing catalogued in London airport’s lost and found room carried brand names like Prada and Dior.
The study also reported that of all British airports, Heathrow was the place travellers were most likely to lose their wedding rings, collecting 63 per cent of all lost wedding bands in its lost and found last year.
Apparently, travellers were the most careless on Tuesdays. That is the day of the week that yields the most lost items in airports on average.
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