Three workers at Changi Airfreight Centre jailed over theft of computer chips worth $2m

SINGAPORE - Three airport logistics workers were each sentenced to jail terms of between 20 and 32 months on Monday, for stealing more than $2 million worth of computer chips.

The scheme, executed on four occasions last year, involved removing and pasting clearance labels onto cartons of goods earmarked to be stolen. This allowed the loot, none of which was recovered, to be driven out of Changi Airfreight Centre without arousing suspicion.

The men are brothers Janagarajan Allagandran, 19, and Devakumar Allagandran Chettiar, 18, and Visvanathan Munusamy, 33. All Malaysians, the trio were here on work permits for logistics companies.

They were all involved in two of the jobs involving $921,989 worth of chips. On one of these two occasions, which took place last Sep 25, Visvanathan identified cartons containing $498,839 of chips to steal and alerted his accomplices. Devakumar's role included peeling a clearance label off other cargo. He passed this and a delivery order to his brother, who stuck it onto the earmarked cartons and drove the goods on a forklift to a meeting point. Here, the items were moved to another vehicle and driven out of the compound by their uncle, Arumugam Chettiar Allagappa.

Visvanathan and the two brothers also carried out two separate heists last year. The 33-year-old stole $411,525 worth of stolen chips, while the brothers whisked away

$728,656 in stolen goods.

After pleading guilty to various charges, Visvanathan received a 32-month jail term, while the brothers got 20 months and one week each.

Another man and their uncle, the mastermind, are still at large.

The maximum penalty for theft in dwelling is jail of up to seven years and a fine.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.