Ex-SATS employee jailed for theft of $98,500 worth of watches

A former SATS employee who stole $98,500 worth of watches at an airfreight terminal was jailed for two months on Thursday. Malaysian Tiaggu Muniappan, 35, had pleaded guilty on Monday to taking the items totalling $98,575 at SATS Aifreight Terminal 6
A former SATS employee who stole $98,500 worth of watches at an airfreight terminal was jailed for two months on Thursday. Malaysian Tiaggu Muniappan, 35, had pleaded guilty on Monday to taking the items totalling $98,575 at SATS Aifreight Terminal 6, Changi Airfreight Centre, on Feb 22 this year. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

A former SATS employee who stole $98,500 worth of watches at an airfreight terminal was jailed for two months on Thursday. Malaysian Tiaggu Muniappan, 35, had pleaded guilty on Monday to taking the items totalling $98,575 at SATS Aifreight Terminal 6, Changi Airfreight Centre, on Feb 22 this year.

The court heard that Tiaggu was on duty at about 4am that day when he saw a white FedEx courier bag had been left behind in a small bin. The cargo mail co-coordinator then stole the bag and put it on the deck of his tractor.

He had intended to inform his duty officer that he had found the bag but his greed got the better of him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong Wei-Zhen. Tiaggu stopped along the roadway beside Airfreight Terminal 6. He switched off the lights and engine of his tractor. He then forcefully broke the cable-tie securing the FedEx bag.

He found some documents and three white boxes which contained two hair bands, six Franck Muller watches worth $64,181 and a $34,385 F.P. Journe watch. He kept the watches and threw away the FedEx bag before resuming his duties.

He took the items back to his home in Johor. All the items were recovered.

His lawyer said in mitigation that it was a momentary lapse of judgment. Tiaggu, he said, never wanted to deal with the stolen items in any way. He kept them exclusively in his home for 16 days and came clean when he was confronted.

He could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for theft.