SINGAPORE: Eight Chinese nationals were on Wednesday jailed between 9 and 16 months by a district court in five separate cases of theft on board an aircraft. The incidents took place on SilkAir and Tiger Airways flights in July and August 2013.
The pair who received the stiffest sentences were 33-year-old construction worker Ren Jun and 34-year-old farmer Li Xingwang, both from Henan province. They were each jailed 16 months.
Looking for a way out of their financial difficulties, the pair devised a scheme to commit theft on board planes as they heard it was a "lucrative opportunity", and agreed to split the loot.
They booked a series of short-haul budget flights to destinations like Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, and Singapore.
The court heard that on July 11, they boarded a SilkAir flight from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore. During the flight, Ren removed a haversack that did not belong to him from the overhead compartment and emptied it of foreign currencies amounting to some S$200.
They later went back to China, and booked another series of short-haul flights.
On July 18, the men again boarded a Singapore-bound SilkAir flight from Kota Kinabalu. This time, Li removed a haversack that did not belong to him from the overhead compartment, and stole foreign currencies amounting to almost S$600.
The pair were later arrested in Singapore.
The offences in the four other cases were similar, with the men either stealing bags or money from the bags, which had been placed in the overhead compartments. In two of the incidents, the amount stolen exceeded S$2,000.
In July, 32-year-old Chinese National Yue Liangfu was the first to be sentenced to nine months' jail for stealing a trolley bag on board an aircraft -- the stiffest punishment to be meted out at the time. - CNA/ac
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