Tay Boon Keh, 66, was sentenced to 20 days in jail on Monday after he confessed to intentionally swapping 286 luggage tags on passenger’s bags at Singapore Changi Airport, sending them to different destinations, between Nov. 8, 2016 and Feb. 6, 2017, Channel News Asia reports. He was charged with 20 counts of mischief.
Boon Keh was working as a baggage handler for the airport through a third-party contractor, Lian Cheng Contracting.
During his employment, Boon Keh's job duties included handling checked luggage and ensuring bags properly went through the X-ray machine for security screenings before being loaded into the plane. However, toward the end of Sept. 2016, he was assigned to an X-ray machine that kept breaking down, forcing him to manually carry the bags to another operating machine, according to the news outlet.
After receiving no help from the company and unhappy with having to physically carry the bags, Boon Keh reportedly grew frustrated and began swapping the bags' luggage tags to get back at the company.
He carried out the scheme while out of sight of security cameras, it was reported.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir received 286 complaints from passengers claiming their bags' tags had been tampered with and their luggage was sent somewhere other than their intended destination.
The airlines were forced to compensate 221 travelers for more than $30,820.
Boon Keh confessed to changing the tags, saying he wanted to inconvenience his employer because he was upset about the staff shortage.
His defense attorney asked for a conditional discharge, under the condition that he not re-offend within one year. They also cited the former handler’s alleged depression, which they say prompted his actions.
District Judge Jasvender Kaur refuted the request, stating that Boon Keh had “a significant amount of control over his actions” and called the offenses “not trivial.”