Nine months' jail for passenger who stole onboard aircraft

A SilkAir passenger, who stole from another passenger onboard a flight, was sentenced to nine months' jail, the stiffest punishment so far for such an offence. Last year, the sentencing for such thefts on Singapore planes was between three and eight weeks.

Chinese national Yue Liangfu took another passenger's brown bag from the overhead compartment, rummaged through it and put it back during a flight to Cambodia from Singapore on June 8 this year. Nothing was said to be taken from it.

In sentencing the 32-year-old from Henan province, Senior District Judge See Kee Oon said that a clear message needs to be sent out to those pursue such offences. "There is a need to emphasise both specific and general deterrence given the increasing prevalence of such offences," he said.

He had previously asked for statistics on such aircraft theft. There have been 36 cases this year so far, compared to 43 cases last year. He added that Yue was not cooperative upon arrest, and that this was not "merely a case where he had succumbed momentarily to temptation by helping himself to an item that was left unattended". Yue could have been jailed up to three years, fined, or both.

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