Woman gets 24 days' jail for hurling sign that injured SIA ticketing staff

Chang Lihui had thrown a sign at a Singapore Airlines (SIA) ticketing staff to vent her anger as she could not get her boarding pass at the airport.
Chang Lihui had thrown a sign at a Singapore Airlines (SIA) ticketing staff to vent her anger as she could not get her boarding pass at the airport. PHOTO: POLICE

SINGAPORE - A Chinese national threw a sign at a Singapore Airlines (SIA) ticketing staff to vent her anger as she could not get her boarding pass at the airport.

A court heard on Monday (July 24) that Chang Lihui, 33, had gone to Changi Airport on June 11 to collect her SIA ticket after she had used a family member's credit card to book the ticket.

She handed over her passport and her family member's credit card to Ms Sharin Chan Suet Gek, 30, who observed that the details on the passport did not match the details on the credit card.

When asked who the owner of the credit card was, Chang replied that it belonged to a family member in Beijing, China. She could not verify who the person was nor verify whether the owner had consented to the purchase.

Chang asked for the boarding pass, saying that she had called the airline earlier to book the ticket.

But Ms Chan told her politely that she was unable to issue the boarding pass as Chang could not verify who owned the credit card. Ms Chan advised her to inform the owner to contact the SIA office in China to confirm that the owner had consented to the purchase.

Chang said she did not have a mobile phone with her and that she was unable to reach the credit card owner. She shouted and used abusive words against Ms Chan, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Teo Lu Jia.

Ms Chan then sought the help of her male colleague, who said the same thing to Chang that the airline could not accede to her request. Chang refused to listen and scolded him. He then left the victim alone with Chang.

Chang then asked for a refund. When Ms Chan said that it would take two to three weeks to process the refund, Chang became angrier and pointed a finger at Ms Chan, scolding her at the same time. Ms Chan then moved backwards and called her supervisor about the situation.

Chang picked up a "Counter Closed" sign, measuring 26cm by 6cm, and threw it towards Ms Chan. It hit the victim's face and she screamed in pain. She was bleeding from cuts on her left eyebrow and nose bridge.

Chang was arrested at her hotel the next day. An Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist said she has schizophrenia but was not of unsound mind at the time of the offence.

DPP Teo had asked for a sentence of at least three weeks' jail, given the extent and severity of the victim's injuries, potential serious harm and targeting of a vulnerable spot. She also said the attack was completely unprovoked, Chang's actions were highly deliberate and calculated and that she had shown an utter lack of remorse.

On Monday, Chang was sentenced to 24 days' jail after admitting to causing hurt to the victim by doing an act so rashly as to endanger personal safety.

She could be released as her sentence was backdated to July 1.

The maximum penalty for the offence is one year's jail and a $5,000 fine.