Airport manager jailed 42 months for siphoning nearly $500,000

Lim Guan Tee committed criminal breach of trust of $476,682 in cash entrusted to him from July 9 to Oct 10, 2014.
Lim Guan Tee committed criminal breach of trust of $476,682 in cash entrusted to him from July 9 to Oct 10, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An airport manager who misappropriated almost $500,000 was jailed for 42 months on Monday (Oct 24).

Lim Guan Tee, 61, was employed by Asia-Pacific Star (APS), a subsidiary of SATS, when he committed criminal breach of trust of $476,682 in cash entrusted to him from July 9 to Oct 10, 2014.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin told the court that Lim had been employed by SATS since 1976 and was seconded to APS in October 2009. He managed the Lost and Found Office and his job scope included reconciling differences between cash sales recorded and cash collected by the Tiger Airways counter.

Lim, the court heard, had on occasions taken Brinks polymer bags containing cash directly from the sales desk agents at the airline counter, saying he would pass them to the Lost and Found office.

The sales desk agents gave the bags to him as they viewed him as their superior.

From 2013 to October 2014, Lim had instructed the Lost and Found supervisors on duty to pass the polymer bags given by the sales desk agents directly to him or to place the bags into a separate safe for lost and found items.

The supervisors were instructed not to fill up the summary list for the bags that were kept in the small safe or handed to him directly.

At times, he also instructed the supervisors to remove the polymer bags from the Brinks safe when the Brinks agents were retrieving the polymer bags and to keep them in the small safe. The Brinks agents did not object as long as the removed polymer bags were struck out from the summary list.

Lim said he needed the bags to perform reconciliation of the cash with the recorded cash sales. He gave himself up on Oct 16, 2014. Only $12 was recovered from the polymer bags.

Lim used the money to gamble and repay his loans.

Mr Sunil Sudheesan said Lim brought with him all the pieces of evidence when he surrendered to the Commercial Affairs Department, which showed "cooperation of the highest degree".

Pleading for mercy, Mr Sunil said Lim was sincerely remorseful and promises not to re-offend. Lim, who has been remanded since June 8, 2016, spoke up in court, advising people not to fall into the trap that he had. "When (it's) time to let go, let go,'' he said. He could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for criminal breach of trust as a servant.