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American who made bomb threat on SIA flight to get stern warning

The 37-year-old man who claimed there was a bomb on board an Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight is set to receive a stern warning for using threatening words.

American La Andy Hien Duc, 37, is expected to plead guilty on Nov 4 to a charge of slapping a man while travelling on board SIA flight SQ33 from San Francisco to Singapore.

On Thursday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min said that the prosecution intends to issue a stern warning to Hien Duc after reviewing a report from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).  

Hien Duc’s lawyer Johannes Hadi, from Eugene Thuraisingam law firm, told The Straits Times his client has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In her written submissions, DPP Lim said the IMH psychiatrist had assessed that Hien Duc posed a danger to the public.

She added: “The stressors of being in a foreign country, including the fact that he has no fixed place to stay and no one to monitor his compliance with his medications, are risk factors for relapse.”

Hien Duc was one of 208 passengers on board the Singapore Airlines flight which left San Francisco at 10.26pm on Sept 26 (Sept 27, 1.26pm Singapore time). The flight was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 5am on Sept 28.

Preliminary investigations revealed that nearly six hours out from the plane’s arrival in Singapore, he claimed there was a bomb in a hand-carry bag.

He then grabbed another passenger’s luggage from the cabin’s overhead compartment.

When a cabin crew tried to intervene and restrain him, Hien Duc allegedly assaulted him.

Checks by the cabin crew did not reveal any suspicious items in the passenger’s luggage. 

Police were alerted to the alleged bomb threat and SQ33 was escorted to Changi Airport by Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter jets.

Units from the Airport Police Division and Special Operations Command’s K-9 Unit, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces’ Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group, were mobilised to investigate and the threat turned out to be false.

Hien Duc will return to court to plead guilty on Nov 4.

For voluntarily causing hurt, he can be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $5,000, or both.

Singapore AirlinesCOURT & CRIME