Preliminary investigations revealed that the man purportedly made four remittance transactions at People’s Park Complex.

SINGAPORE: A 54-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly stealing US$80,000 (S$107,000) in cash from a passenger on board a flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, the police said on Wednesday (Mar 6).

The passenger discovered that the cash was missing from his bag after he disembarked at Changi Airport on Tuesday.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the victim had placed his bag in the overhead compartment but did not see (a) suspicious person rummaging through his bag,” the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a news release.

Airport Police Division officers followed up using flight records and worked together with officers from SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department to establish the man’s identity.

The authorities found that the man had purportedly made four remittance transactions amounting to S$37,897.70, believed to be part of the stolen cash, at People’s Park Complex in Chinatown.

The police halted the transactions and arrested the man, who was found to be in possession of cash amounting to S$79,662.83 in multiple denominations and currencies.

The cash was seized by the police.

The man will be charged in court on Thursday with theft under Section 379 of the Penal Code 1871 read with Section 3 of the Tokyo Convention Act 1971.

Section 3 of the Tokyo Convention Act 1971 allows offenders to be charged under Singapore laws if a crime takes place on a Singapore-controlled aircraft flying outside of the country.

If found guilty, the man faces up to three years in jail, a fine, or both.

“Theft on board an aircraft is a serious offence,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police M Malathi, the commander of the Airport Police Division.

“The safety and security of all passengers is a top priority for Airport Police. Our swift actions for this case ensured that the perpetrator was apprehended and brought to justice. Airport Police will continue to work closely with our airport stakeholders to ensure aircraft security and safety.”

SPF advised members of the public to adopt the following measures to protect themselves against theft while they are on flights:

  • Keep your cash or valuables with you instead of placing them inside the overhead luggage compartments.
  • Be wary of passengers who are seen opening up overhead compartments, retrieving bags and rummaging through them during the flight.
  • Inform the cabin crew of suspicious behaviour immediately.

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