Singapore baggage handler jailed for switching tags causing luggage lossesWorld | 12 Nov 2019 3:44 pm
A Singaporean baggage handler has been jailed for 20 days for swapping tags on nearly 300 suitcases at the island's airport, causing them to end up at wrong destinations around the world.
Tay Boon Keh, 66, had pleaded guilty to charges of swapping the tags on 286 bags at Changi Airport, one of the world's busiest hubs.
He had admitted to tampering with the bag tags of passengers from flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir between November 8, 2016 and February, 6 2017.
At the time, he was working as a baggage handler at Changi Airport Terminal 2 for Lian Cheng Contracting, a sub-contractor of Changi Airport Group, Channel News Asia reported.
He switched the tags out of "frustration and anger" after his request for additional staff at his work section was ignored, a district court heard. Suitcases originally bound for various parts of the world, including Perth,
Manila, Frankfurt, London and San Francisco, were affected, according to court documents.
The bags belonged to passengers transiting through Changi and using Singapore Airlines and its regional wing SilkAir.
Tay was suffering from major depressive disorder when he committed the offenses, the court heard.
But state prosecutors said evidence presented at a hearing showed his condition "did not contribute significantly to his commission of the offenses"
as he continued to have control over his actions.
Prosecutor Thiam Jia Min said the switching of tags could have caused "potentially, even serious or fatal, consequences" as some passengers could have been left without medications.
A representative for the ground-handling agent managing Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operations at Changi Airport made a police report on Dec 7, 2016, saying he had received emails about 20 passengers having their bags rerouted due to tampering of baggage tags, Channel News Asia reported. They have made compensation payouts of more than S$42,000 to 221 affected passengers.-AFP/CNA