Indian national jailed in Singapore for taking bribes at Changi airport

Tuesday, 30/04/2019

Singapore : A 37-year-old Indian national has been jailed for eight weeks and fined 800 Singapore dollars for accepting bribes to under-report the weight of passenger bags on a flight at the country’s Changi Airport, a media report said on Tuesday.

Hiteshkumar Chandubhai Patel, who worked as a customer service associate for logistics service provider UBTS between January 2015 and November 2016, was ordered to pay a penalty of 800 Singapore dollars for the offence he committed, the New Paper reported.

Patel’s responsibilities at the workplace included assisting passengers at boarding gates and check-in counters for Tigerair flights.

However, he took money from an Indian national named Gopal Krishna Raju, who ran a side business of buying gold in Singapore and sending it 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,” the tabloid website reported.

Raju offered Patel money and meals from January to October 2016 to under-report the weight of the bags.

Patel’s offence came to light after Singapore Airport Terminals Services conducted an internal investigation following a report published in the New Paper on July 13 last year, claiming that a baggage-touting syndicate was operating at Changi Airport.

Patel is the third man to be jailed in the last one week for accepting bribes to under-report the weight of passenger bags.

Last Friday, a 47-year old Indian national named Ayyadurai Karunanithi and a Singaporean of Indian-origin named Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved were jailed for nine and seven weeks respectively, for committing the same offence.

The prosecution said corruption in the air travel industry was potentially detrimental to Singapore’s reputation as a global aviation hub.

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