Sixty cases on in-flight theft were reported in Hong Kong in the nine months to September, a 25 percent rise from the whole of 2014.
The stolen items were estimated to be worth a combined HK$4.45 million, the highest in nearly four years, Sing Tao Daily reported, citing data released by the police.
Thirty-one suspects were arrested in Hong Kong, none of them locals.
From 2012 to September 2015, 216 cases of in-flight theft were recorded.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said the trend is going up.
Travelers tend to put their valuables such as cash, camera, jewelry and passport in their carry-on luggage.
These bags are placed in overhead bins, making them easy pickings for thieves.
Lai said thieves would put their own luggage in the overhead bin and use the opportunity to steal the properties of others.
Others commit the crime when the target passenger goes to the toilet or falls asleep.
Police said theft is more common on flights that are longer than five hours.
Travelers are urged to keep an eye on their personal belongings, and not to place cash and other valuables in the overhead cabin.
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