Cabby gets jail for misappropriating passenger's headphones

This article is more than 12 months old

A taxi driver found a set of headphones left behind by a passenger in his cab and gave it to his daughter, who then sold it on marketplace app Carousell.

On Monday (Aug 7), Lai Kim Fah, 59, was jailed for two weeks after he admitted to misappropriating the headphones that he found in the back seat of his taxi last year (2016) on Sept 19.

The headphones, which were valued at $699, belonged to Ms Sarah Safa Sherry, 31.

Police prosecutor Kevin Lee Ming Woei told the court that Ms Sherry, a Briton, boarded Lai's taxi at her home in Marine Parade Road that day to go to Terminal 2, Changi Airport.

Just after getting out of the cab, she realised that she had left her headphones behind.

She immediately called ComfortDelGro's lost and found section and lodged a report. She had with her a receipt with the taxi's registration number, issued when she booked the taxi.

She called again the next day when she did not hear from them.

When ComfortDelGro called Lai, he said he did not find any headphones. The company conveyed the message to Ms Sherry.

About 10 days later, Ms Sherry's boyfriend lodged a police report on her behalf when there was no word on the missing headphones.

Investigations showed that Lai found the headphones when he was handing over the taxi to another driver at the end of his shift, and kept them.

He then gave the headphones to his daughter. He later came clean to the police during investigations.

It emerged that his daughter had sold the headphones on Carousell but managed to get them back from the buyer after refunding the money.

The headphones were handed over to the police.

Lai's pro bono lawyer Cory Wong said the father of three is the family's sole breadwinner and is very remorseful. He added that Lai had returned things left behind by passengers before.

He said what Lai did was "out of character" and a one-off mistake.

Lai could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for dishonest misappropriation of property.

COURT & CRIMEcrimetaxi driver