The ubiquitous baggage tag, which many airline passengers take for granted, helps ensure that luggage ends up at the destination it is supposed to - unless someone decides to swop them around.
This is what one baggage handler at Changi Airport allegedly did.
Yesterday, 63-year-old Tay Boon Keh was charged with 286 counts of mischief for swopping around baggage tags attached to the pieces of luggage he encountered.
The employee of industrial equipment supplier Lian Cheng Contracting, a subcontractor of Changi Airport Group, allegedly committed the offences between November last year and February this year.
He is believed to have started on Nov 8 last year by exchanging the baggage tag of a piece of luggage bound for Penang on a Singapore Airlines flight with that of another bag.
It was not mentioned in court where the bags finally ended up.
Since then, Tay is believed to have switched baggage tags almost every day until this February.
The affected bags had been bound for places such as Hong Kong, Manila, London and Perth.
Affected airlines included SilkAir and Lufthansa.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Changi Airport said this was an isolated case of mischief and there had been no breach of aviation security at the Changi aerodrome.
Its spokesman added: " Nonetheless, we have enhanced access control as well as the CCTV coverage in the baggage-handling area. Patrols have also been stepped up."
Tay, who was unrepresented, was expressionless as he stood in court before District Judge Adam Nakhoda.
The court heard that he intends to plead guilty to his offences, and will be back in court on Oct 17.
If convicted of mischief, he can be jailed for up to a year and fined for each charge.