Chinese national jailed for stealing from Mustafa Centre's boss on plane

A Chinese national, who stole a hand-carried bag on board an aircraft, was jailed for six weeks on Monday.

Wang Liwu, 47, admitted to the stealing from the boss of Mustafa Centre, Mr Mustaq Ahmad, 61, on board a SilkAir flight from Phnom Penh to Singapore on Jan 18 this year.

A court heard that Wang was one of the first to board the plane. After putting a trolley bag in the overhead compartment, he got up and changed his seat.

Finding his behaviour strange, a flight attendant alerted her colleague to keep an eye on him. Shortly after the flight departed, a second stewardess was standing directly behind Wang when she saw him retrieve a black laptop bag from an overhead compartment and appeared to be ransacking it. He then went to the toilet. When the plane landed in Singapore, Wang did not have any black laptop bag. The bag was in fact retrieved by the victim instead.

The captain was informed. He activated the Singapore Airport Terminal Services Police, who later detained Wang.

In a similar case last week on the same flight, another Chinese national Lu Yi, 36, was also jailed six weeks for stealing a bag from Mr Chhuon Sam Ang, a 59-year-old Cambodian national.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani told the court that 18 individuals were prosecuted last year for theft and theft-related crimes on board Singapore controlled aircraft compared to one person the year before.

"The message needs to be sent to such people: if you commit theft on board any of our flag-bearing aircraft, you will transit at Changi. Not Changi Airport. But at Changi Prison,'' he said.