Malaysian spent 18 days in Changi airport transit

He is jailed for forging boarding passes to enter various lounges in all 3 terminals after missing flight

Raejali Buntut, a Malaysian, was jailed for two weeks after pleading guilty to three out of 31 charges of forgery.
Raejali Buntut, a Malaysian, was jailed for two weeks after pleading guilty to three out of 31 charges of forgery.

A jobless Malaysian man who overslept at a Changi Airport lounge and missed his flight back to Kuala Lumpur decided to stay in the departure transit area.

For almost three weeks - 18 days from Aug 21 until last Wednesday - Raejali Buntut remained in transit by using 31 forged mobile boarding passes to enter various lounges in the three terminals.

But a worker at a lounge he had visited four times saw through his ruse and called the police.

Yesterday, Raejali, a former business development manager with Royale Consultant Management in Singapore, was jailed for two weeks after he pleaded guilty to three out of 31 charges of forgery.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lim Kah Hwee had asked for two to three weeks' jail, noting Raejali's "blatantly lawless behaviour".

In response to media queries, police said it "conducts patrols and regular security checks on persons in the transit areas to ensure the safety and security of all passengers".

A district court heard that Raejali, who turns 33 on Monday, had a ticket for an AirAsia flight scheduled to depart for Kuala Lumpur at 7.05am on Aug 21.

The night before, he checked in at close to midnight and went to the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1 - using his boarding pass and his Priority Pass issued by Citibank.

But he woke up late and missed his flight. He then decided to continue using the facilities at the lounges in the departure transit areas of the airport's three terminals.

The court was not told why he wanted to stay at the airport.

Passengers are required to have a valid boarding pass to enter a transit lounge. Since Raejali's boarding pass was no longer valid, he decided to forge boarding passes.

He downloaded images of mobile boarding passes issued by two airlines - Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines - from the Internet, and used an image editing software on his laptop to alter them.

Raejali inserted his name, a false flight number and a false destination on the fake mobile boarding passes, before sending them to his phone. He forged 31 such passes and used them at nine lounges run by five operators.

For instance, Raejali went into the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1 at about 11.30pm on Aug 21, and next moved to the Sats Premier Lounge at the same terminal at around noon on Aug 23.

The next morning, he went to the Dnata Lounge at T1 before going to the Ambassador Transit Lounge at T3 the following morning.

Last Tuesday, a staff member at the Dnata Lounge at T1 called police when she suspected Raejali's misdeeds. He had entered the lounge as recently as three days earlier on Sept 3. He had also gone there on Sept 1 , Aug 29 and Aug 24.

Raejali was arrested by the police at about 4pm last Wednesday. His sentence was backdated to the date of his remand last Friday. He could have been jailed for four years and fined per charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Man spent 18 days in airport transit'. Subscribe