Japanese custom officials at Narita planted 142g of cannabis worth USD10,000 (Star 29th May '08, W37) into a passenger suitcase four days ago. The drugs I presume is planted in Tokyo when the luggages came off the Cathay Pacific plane from Hong Kong.
This is indeed disconcerting eventhough it was a training run for their sniffer dogs and surprise, surprise this is not the first time. The public get to hear it only when there was a foul-up. It is a violation of individual rights. It was said that heads will roll.
I have doubts over the procedural control and the line of command of some of these division. Regular audits by independent bodies must be done. Internal control is not good enough. Though not association this case with other court cases but in the light of the drug case involving Raja Munirah in Japan this leave a bad taste in the mouth.
In my travels I am careful with check-in luggages. If possible I travel light and buy small souvenirs so that it can fit into my cabin bag. Some cautions:
1) Pack your own luggage. Then lock it.
2) Do not accept any packages from anybody.
3) Do not carry or help carry any luggages in the airport. The airport staff will help those who need it.
4) Do not help to check-in others' luggages under your name even if they plead with you in the check-in line esp. when you have only a cabin bag.
5) Use hard-shell oyster-suitcase. It is made of ABS polycarbonate. These have no pockets at the side, front and rear for any insertions. Otherwise make sure your the pocket uses 2 zipper tabs. The tabs must have a hole for the lock to go through. 'Lock' all pockets.
As for hand-carry luggages the above still applies but one can be flexible in the model of the suitcase as long as the three dimensions of the suitcase added together must not exceed 115cm. And finally always have the bag in front of you.