Two Sats cabin services staff and cargo handler jailed over theft of liquor

SINGAPORE - A Sats cabin services staff member has been jailed for stealing three bottles of liquor that he had taped to his body in a bid to elude detection.

The man was caught when his bulging stomach raised the suspicions of an alert auxiliary police officer, a court heard.

Chinese national Qi Hongwei, 22, was jailed for six weeks on Thursday (Dec 7) after admitting to stealing two bottles of Courvoisier XO Cognac and a bottle of Dow's Aged 20-Year-Old Tawny Port totalling $96 from Sats In-Flight Catering Centre 1 on Nov 12.

Two similar charges were considered during sentencing.

The court heard that Sats auxiliary police officer Vijenthiran Arjunan, 31, was on security duty at the exit gate at Sats In-Flight Catering Centre 1 on Nov 13 when he checked Qi's belongings.

Qi was empty-handed but there was a bulge in his stomach area.

Mr Vijenthiran 's checks discovered the three bottles strapped to Qi's waist with masking tape.

He had stolen the bottles while replenishing liquor stocks in airliners with the intention of either selling them or keeping them for his personal consumption.

In the same court, two other Chinese nationals were also jailed for theft and dishonestly receiving stolen property.

Cabin services staff Shi Chongchao, 28, stole 15 bottles of liquor between October and Nov 12. He admitted to one count of stealing six bottles of Hennessy XO Cognac worth $345 in October and was jailed for seven weeks.

Later that month, he sold the six bottles of cognac to cargo handler Chen Weikang, 27, for $540 in total.

Chen was jailed for one month on Thursday for receiving stolen property.

He had reasons to believe that the liquor was stolen as it was sold in bulk and at a cheap price by Shi.

Chen did not ask Shi how he obtained the bottles as he was keen to make money by reselling them. He sold the liquor to countrymen who had gone back to China, earning a profit of $8 to $10 a bottle.

The maximum penalty for theft as a servant is seven years' jail and a fine.

Chen could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined for dishonestly receiving stolen property.