Singapore airport worker jailed after taking bribes to underweigh passengers’ baggage

The man is the third employee in a week to be jailed for the practice

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 30 April 2019 15:57
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An employee at Singapore’s Changi Airport has been jailed for eight weeks and fined 800SGD (£453) for taking bribes to underweigh passengers’ luggage.

Hiteshkumar Chandubhai Patel, 37, was found guilty after accepting money from Gopal Krishna Raju, who was buying gold in Singapore and selling it in Chennai, India.

Rather than pay for an expensive courier service, Raju would pay passengers travelling from Singapore to Chennai to carry the gold in their luggage, as well as paying Patel to turn a blind eye to the excess weight of the bags, according to local media.

Patel, whose responsibilities included manning the boarding gates and check-in counters for budget airline Tigerair (which has since merged with fellow carrier Scoot), performed this service for Raju between January and October 2016.

It came to light after an internal investigation was launched at Changi Airport.

Patel is the third man to be jailed in a week for the practice.

On Friday 26 April, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved were sentenced to nine and seven weeks in prison respectively for accepting bribes to underweigh passengers’ bags.

Corruption in the air travel industry could be detrimental to Singapore’s reputation as a global aviation hub, claimed Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Singapore’s Changi airport is frequently voted the best airport in the world, winning the title for a seventh year running at the 2019 Skytrax Awards.

The transport hub advertises itself as “More than an airport”: attractions include art installations and sculptures, a butterfly park, cactus garden and cinema.

Changi’s Jewel Airport, a 137,000sqm “indoor sanctuary” connected to terminals 1, 2 and 3, opened on 17 April, adding a suspended trampoline, giant slide, indoor forest, hedge and mirror mazes, “foggy bowls” (a children’s park with mist clouds to chase) and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

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