Third man jailed for under-reporting Scoot baggage weight for bribes
He is part of syndicate that under-reported baggage weights, exposed by TNP
Three men have been jailed for accepting bribes after a report by The New Paper last year.
The report, published on July 13, said budget airline Scoot was investigating claims that a baggage-touting syndicate was operating at Changi Airport.
Checks by TNP then found that passengers with excess baggage were being offered lower rates by touts, and this led to investigations by Scoot and Sats.
Yesterday, Indian national Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, 37, was jailed for eight weeks for accepting at least $800 in bribes. He was ordered to pay a penalty of $800.
He is the third man to be jailed in the past week for accepting bribes to under-report the weight of passenger bags at Changi Airport.
Patel worked as a customer service associate for logistics service provider UBTS between January 2015 and November 2016.
His responsibilities included assisting passengers at boarding gates and check-in counters for Tigerair flights. He took the money from Indian national Gopal Krishna Raju, 37, whose case is pending.
Gopal ran a side business buying gold here and sending it back to Chennai to be sold.
Instead of using a courier service, he would look for travellers to Chennai to help him carry the gold over in their luggage, and they would in turn get paid by his relatives there.
He offered Patel money and meals from January to October 2016 to under-report the weights of the bags.
His offences came to light after Sats conducted its own internal investigations arising from TNP queries and found the suspicious behaviour as noted by TNP.
Last Friday, two men were jailed for similar offences.
Ayyadurai Karunanithi, 47, an Indian national who also worked for UBTS from December 2013 to July last year, was jailed for nine weeks and ordered to pay a penalty of $500.
Singaporean Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, 35, who worked for Sats Asia-Pacific Star from January 2016 to July last year, was sentenced to seven weeks' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $630.
The court was told the offences came to light as a result of investigations arising from TNP's report last year.
The prosecution also said that corruption in the air travel industry was potentially detrimental to Singapore's reputation as a global aviation hub.
In a statement on the men being charged earlier this month, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said that no form of bribery will be tolerated here.
"We do not tolerate bribery even when the amount is small because some corrupt acts can possibly lead to the compromise of our public safety," said CPIB.
"Corrupt practices of such nature will not only tarnish the excellent reputation of Singapore's Changi Airport but more importantly, it may undermine our safety in air travel."
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