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Elderly baggage handler gets jail for swapping hundreds of tags at Changi Airport

Frustrated at his employer and his tedious work, Tay Boon Kay began swapping luggage tags to get back at his employer as a form of "cathartic relief"

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A baggage handler at Changi Airport Terminal 2 deliberately swapped the tags of 286 bags which were then sent off to the wrong destinations.

Tay Boon Keh (66) was tasked with moving luggage bags to the conveyor belt to be X-rayed.

The machine reportedly kept breaking down, so Tay had to carry the bags and move them six meters to another belt.

He complained to his supervisor and requested to get more manpower so he did not have to carry all the heavy luggage by himself.

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However, his employer at Lian Cheng Contracting reportedly did not address his concerns.

Tay became frustrated at his employer and his tedious work. Thus, Tay began swapping luggage tags to get back at his employer as a form of “cathartic relief.”

He committed the offences between Nov 2016 to Feb 2017.

Hundreds of passengers of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir were affected by Tay’s actions. The bags were bound for London, Frankfurt, Perth, San Francisco, and Manila.

Some passengers were unable to take their prescribed medicine due to their loss of baggage.

The airlines had to compensate the 221 passengers for the loss which totalled around S$42,000.

Tay’s lawyers and psychiatrist argued that he suffered from a major depressive disorder and committed the offences to relieve himself as reported by Today.

Tay was also said to have run to cry in toilets during his break time.

Prosecution argued that “The offences are not trivial. The accused had come up with a plan to exact revenge on his employer for perceived unfair working conditions and abused his position 286 times over close to three-and-a-half months,” as quoted in a report by Channel News Asia.

Tay pleaded guilty to 20 counts of mischief and was sentenced to 20 days in jail.

For his offences, he could have been jailed more up to a year and fined for each count of mischief. -/TISG

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