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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Singapore airport handler 'diverted luggage around the world'

Accused believed to have changed baggage tags almost every day from November until February

Boarding gates inside Changi Airport's Terminal 4 building in Singapore. The city-state is targetting building a fifth terminal this year. Wallace Woon/EPA
Boarding gates inside Changi Airport's Terminal 4 building in Singapore. The city-state is targetting building a fifth terminal this year. Wallace Woon/EPA

A man who worked as a baggage handler at Singapore’s Changi Airport swapped tags on hundreds of bags, sending the luggage to the wrong destinations, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Tay Boon Keh, a 63 year-old working as a baggage handler for a sub-contractor of the Changi Airport Group, was charged in court on Tuesday with 286 counts of mischief, the newspaper said.

He did not explain his actions, but intends to plead guilty, it said. The next hearing is on October 17, when, if convicted, he can be jailed for up to one year and fined for each charge.

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Luggage originally bound for various parts of the world, including Perth, Manila, Frankfurt, London and San Francisco, was affected, according to court documents. Tay is believed to have changed baggage tags almost every day from November until February, they said.

An airport spokesman said there was no breach of security.

Nearly 59 million passengers used Changi Airport in 2016. The world’s sixth busiest airport for international traffic, it flies passengers to 380 cities on over 100 airlines and was voted the world’s best airport in 2017 by the Skytrax air travel consultancy.

It handles about 70,000 bags per day, according to the Changi Airport Group website.