Baggage handler jailed for swopping over 200 tags
More than 200 pieces of luggage belonging to passengers of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir ended up at wrong destinations after a baggage handler swopped the tags.
Tay Boon Keh was yesterday sentenced to 20 days' jail for mischief. Under the Penal Code, it is an offence to cause wrongful loss or damage to another person's property.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, the 66-year-old pleaded guilty in October last year to 20 counts of mischief. Another 266 similar charges were considered during sentencing.
Tay swopped the tags of 286 pieces of luggage. The two carriers had to pay compensation totalling more than $42,000 to 221 passengers.
At the time of the offences - between November 2016 and February 2017 - Tay was employed by industrial equipment supplier Lian Cheng Contracting, a subcontractor of the Changi Airport Group. He is no longer working at the airport.
The court heard he was suffering from major depressive disorder then. A hearing was held to determine if there was a causal link between the offences and his condition.
Yesterday, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said she found his disorder "had not caused or significantly contributed to the offending".
Tay was deployed to an explosives detection system X-ray machine. Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiam Jia Min said the machine would stop working several times a day, and Tay had to move the bags to another machine about 6m away.
Tay told his supervisor it was tiring work. The company's manpower was limited, and it did not deploy additional staff. His offences came to light after the airlines told Sats some baggage tags had been tampered with.