Man jailed eight weeks for bribing airport check-in staff
He was transporting gold from Singapore to India, but did not use a courier service to do so.
Instead, Gopal Krishna Raju, 37, looked for passengers travelling to Chennai, India, and would get them to take the gold over for a fee, bribing an airport check-in worker to under-report the weight of their bags.
Yesterday, the then manager in a food processing firm was jailed for eight weeks for corruption.
The New Paper reported on a baggage-touting syndicate operating at the Scoot check-in counter at Changi Airport in July last year.
Investigations arising as a result of the report led to four men, including Gopal, being hauled to court for corruption.
The court heard that Gopal ran a side business that transported and sold gold in India.
He knew airport check-in worker Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, 37, through mutual friends, and approached him in 2016, giving him more than $800 in bribes over 10 occasions.
He also treated him to meals at a restaurant in Little India from January to October 2016.
Last Friday, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh urged the court to impose a sentence of eight weeks' jail, as any corrupt activity in the air travel industry could severely undermine Singapore's reputation and national interests.
Gopal's lawyer, Mr Nirmal Singh, pleaded for a high fine instead, calling the amount of $800 a paltry sum and adding that the under-reporting did not exceed more than 2kg on any one occasion.
But during sentencing yesterday, District Judge John Ng said it was important to protect the hard-won reputation of the airport.
He added that general deterrence was still the key consideration, and such acts can be carried out quite easily because of the volume of travel and number of airport staff.
Gopal is the fourth person to be dealt with in court this year for bribing customer service associates at the airport.
Three customer service officers, including Patel who worked for logistics service provider UBTS, were each sentenced in April to between seven and nine weeks' jail.