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The Baggage Handler Who Lost Luggage on Purpose

The Baggage Handler Who Lost Luggage on Purpose
Jackie Reddy

Unhappy in his job and frustrated with his employer, a baggage handler at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) vented his frustration by deliberately switching luggage tags on checked-in luggage. This occurred between November 2016 and February 2017 and eventually landed the handler a jail sentence.

A disgruntled baggage handler who was working at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) has been jailed for 20 days for deliberately switching 286 tags on luggage at the facility between November 8th, 2016 and February 6th, 2017, Channel News Asia reports.

According to the outlet, during the time of the swaps, Tay Boon Keh was working within the airport’s Terminal 2 for Lian Cheng Contracting, a subcontractor of Changi Airport Group. As part of his role, he was supposed to ensure that all checked-in luggage was aligned and placed correctly on the scanner prior to loading.

The outlet explains that, in September 2016, the scanner to which Tay was assigned began to malfunction several times a day. Because of this, Tay then had to haul luggage to the nearest working scanner, which was about 20 feet away.

During court proceedings, it was made known that Tay had raised his concerns over the situation to his bosses, but the 66-year-old was not given additional support to ease the burden of his job.

It’s alleged that Tay then swapped luggage tags in order to vent his frustration with his employer. According to the outlet, the handler hoped his actions would make the airport fix the broken scanner and address what Tay perceived to be a personnel shortage at the facility.

But unfortunately for Tay, the swaps didn’t have the intended impact. The outlet reports that both Singapore Airlines and SilkAir were affected by Tay’s actions. A representative for the agent which maintains ground-handling services for both airlines said that he went to the local police on December 7th, 2016 after the bags of 20 passengers were incorrectly routed due to tag tampering.

On top of this, an extra 266 complaints were received by both of these carriers from passengers who raised their concerns over luggage tag tampering.

Thus far, both airlines have paid out S$42,000 (USD $30,817) in passenger compensation.

The outlet says that Tay has been identified as the culprit thanks to a major police effort.

Tay’s legal counsel protested his jail sentence—which has been set at 20 days—and said that he had been suffering from a “major depressive disorder”.

However, having received further insight into Tay’s mental state from a psychiatrist, district judge Jasvender Kaur observed that, “In the case of the accused, he remarkably continued to go to work diligently during the entire period of the offending. The accused had come up with a plan to exact revenge on his employer for perceived unfair working conditions and abused his position 286 times over close to three-and-a-half months.”

Tay was sentenced to a total of 20 charges of mischief and was given a 20-day jail sentence which began on Monday.

Speaking out about the case, deputy public prosecutor Thiam Jia Min said, “A clear message has to be sent out to potential offenders that such acts have major consequences and that they should always resort to other more appropriate and legal channels to vent their frustrations.”

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View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. drvannostren

    November 13, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    What a place to live where the police have time to launch a “major police effort” in a case like this.

  2. AJNEDC

    November 15, 2019 at 5:20 am

    @drvannostren: That’s because there’s nothing else for them to do. Good job Singapore. Kudos to you.

  3. alexmyboy

    November 15, 2019 at 9:28 am

    treat your employees right

  4. Jackie_414

    November 15, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    The laws and law enforcement in Singapore are very strict. Just try spitting in the gutter to find out. Have you really forgotten about Michael Fay’s caning for vandalism?

  5. arcticflier

    November 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    The news outlet, Channel News Asia, is responsible for the statement, “A major police effort” and likely just paying kudos. Such an investigation would obviously not require a major police effort or manpower. There was evidence of tags being changed so where do you suppose the investigation would begin? Hmmm…lets talk to the baggage handlers.

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