SINGAPORE: On Oct 16, a woman named Zeng Xiuying offered two officers at Changi Airport US$50 (S$70) to allow her and her companion to go through the boarding gate to fly to Amsterdam without a valid visa.
The officers refused to let the women fly and declined the bribe. On Nov 1 (Wednesday), Zeng, 52, a Chinese national, was given a four-week jail sentence after she entered a guilty plea to offering gratification to an agent under the Prevention of Corruption Act, with another charge taken into consideration for her sentencing.
The woman, who did not secure the services of a lawyer for the legal proceedings, told the court that it was her first time to travel abroad. On Oct 16, 2023, Zeng and Wu Zhangwang arrived at Changi Airport from Koh Samui, Thailand. Their tickets to Amsterdam via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines had a transit stop in Singapore and were scheduled to depart shortly before 1 am on Oct 17, reports TODAY Online.
However, the two women were subjected to screening by KLM agent Suriah Samsi before being allowed to enter the departure gate. The agent discovered that neither of them had a proper visa to enter the Netherlands.
Certis Cisco officer Ronald Michael Jansen was tasked to help tell the women in Mandarin that KLM was not allowing them to board the flight. After doing so, he told them they could call the airline’s hotline or proceed to the KLM counter in the departure area. But the women stayed near the departure gate to speak to other auxiliary police officers. Mr Jansen then drew near Zeng and Wu again, which is when Zeng put an arm around Mr Jansen’s shoulder and handed him around US$50. She asked him to talk to KLM on their behalf to permit them to fly out anyway.
Mr Jansen declined to take the money from her but approached the counter again to see if the woman could board the plane and was told this was not possible. As he approached Zeng to tell her this, she handed her travel itinerary to him, where there were several US dollar notes hidden in the itinerary. This was rejected once again by the Cetris Cisco officer, who then left the area.
Zeng also tried to hand at least US$50 to Ms Suriah when the latter asked for her passport later that evening, and Zeng asked the KLM agent in Mandarin to “help” her. Like Mr Jansen, Ms Suriah said no to Zeng. The woman was later arrested for her attempts to bribe Mr Jansen and Ms Suriah.
While Zeng admitted to having attempted to bribe the two, she said she only offered one US$50 note to them. She also said that she handed the money over as she needed help with asking KLM why she had not been allowed to board the flight.
The woman could have been given a fine of as much as S$100,000 and a jail sentence of up to five years, or both, had she been convicted of corruptly offering gratification to an agent. /TISG