“Mischievous” Airport Bag Handler Purposely Sent Hundreds of Suitcases To Wrong Destinations

As if flying didn’t have enough potential problems, between passengers being pulled off planes, airlines cancelling thousands of flights, or the possibility of sitting directly in front of the screaming baby section, now we have this to worry about.

Tay Boon Keh, a 63-year-old baggage handler at Singapore Changi Airport, swapped the tags on hundreds of bags, intentionally sending the luggage to the wrong destinations. He was charged with 286 counts of mischief, as per The Straits Times.

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The Departures area at Singapore Changi Airport

It’s thought he began the reckless deeds in November and continued nearly every day until February. The tags of bags bound for Hong Kong, Manila, London, San Francisco and Perth, among other locations, were exchanged with tags from other bags, so they would go to the wrong destination. Airlines mostly affected with this mischief included Singapore, Silkair and Lufthansa.

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A public area at Singapore Changi Airport

As per an airport spokesman, there was no breach of security at Changi Airport and they’re considering it an isolated case of mischief. “Nonetheless, we have enhanced access control as well as the CCTV coverage in the baggage handling area. Patrols have also been stepped up.”

As per the Straight Times:

He started work on Sept 7, 2016, and was deployed to the Explosives Detection System (EDS) X-Ray machine at Belt 5-7 later that month.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiam Jia Min said the machine had frequent power failures and broke down several times a day.

When this happened, Tay had to carry travellers’ bags off Belt 5-7 and move them for screening at another machine at Belt 7-5 about 6m away.

Tay complained to his supervisor that it was physically tiring to carry the bags around.

However, as manpower at Lian Cheng Contracting was limited at that time, additional staff were not deployed to the EDS X-Ray machine at Belt 5-7, the court heard.

DPP Thiam told District Judge Jasvender Kaur: “Finally, out of frustration and anger at Lian Cheng, the accused came up with a plan to swop the baggage tags attached to the luggage bags that he handled with other baggage tags. The accused was alone when he performed the swopping of the tags, and he did it at an area which was out of CCTV view.”

The DPP said Tay knew that by swopping the baggage tags, the affected bags would be sent to the wrong locations.

Tay pleaded guilty to 20 counts of mischief and it was said that when he was sentenced, the other 266 instances would be considered, however there were no reports of his actual sentencing. We last heard he could/would face face jail time for up to one year per offense and and be fined for each charge.

Well, isn’t that just awesomesauce? (yes, I really do say “awesomesauce.” Don’t judge) Sigh. Let’s hope there are no copycat crimes, shall we?

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