Tougher penalties needed for bomb hoaxes

I commend the Republic of Singapore Air Force for the professional manner in which it responded to the recent bomb scare on board a Scoot flight from Cebu (Bomb scare on Scoot flight from Cebu to Singapore turns out to be hoax; all 150 on board land safely, June 2).

It is shocking to hear that it was yet another bomb hoax. I cannot imagine the trauma that all those on board must have felt when they learnt of a bomb threat on their aircraft.

With the heightened security risk, I am flabbergasted that some people think it is funny and harmless to pull such a prank.

People become frightened. Taxpayers' money is wasted each time the Government has to dispatch fighter jets to intercept the threat.

And each time jets are scrambled, it diverts valuable resources that otherwise protect the nation from other potential threats.

This is not the first time the threat turned out to be a hoax, and it may not be the last.

Past offenders have got away lightly with a fine that is probably not even enough to pay for the fuel of the fighter jets.

In this age of increased threats of terror attacks, we cannot take this lightly. Those who decide to pull such a prank must be made to pay dearly for it.

The Government should consider imposing a minimum jail sentence and caning for anyone who decides to pull such a prank. Juveniles should be tried as adults for such offences and their parents be made accountable.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2019, with the headline 'Tougher penalties needed for bomb hoaxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe