Changi Airport security officer who stole passenger's S$20,000 watch gets jail

Changi Airport security officer who stole passenger's S$20,000 watch gets jail

Changi Airport Terminal 3
The departure hall entrance of Singapore's Changi international airport Terminal 3. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A security officer at Changi Airport who pocketed a S$20,000 watch belonging to a passenger was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Friday (Apr 5).

Nurshaba Samsi, 34, was a Certis Cisco pier supervisor at the airport, where she supervised other aviation screening officers who conducted pre-boarding operations.

On the afternoon of Aug 25 last year, the victim, Ms Wenny Damayanti, went to Changi Airport Terminal 3 to catch her flight home to Indonesia.

At the X-ray security screening, she placed her handbag and other items, including a S$20,000 Franck Muller watch, into a tray. 

She later boarded her flight to Jakarta without realising that she had left the watch behind. 

According to court documents, investigations revealed that the watch had fallen to the floor at the screening area. It was found by an aviation security officer who placed it on top of a metal rubbish bin.

Nurshaba, who was supervising the pre-boarding security screening at the time, took the watch and later put it in her pouch. At her locker, she transferred the watch from her pouch to her black sling bag and took it home.

The owner of the watch realised during her flight that the timepiece had gone missing. She got a friend to help lodge a report with Changi Airport when she reached Jakarta.

Nurshaba pleaded guilty to one count of dishonest misappropriation of property. She claimed that she had skipped the proper procedure - of keying in information of the found item in a form before handing it to a counter - as she found it "inconvenient".

She claimed that she would usually just hand over items found to the information counter, without recording the items in an electronic flight operation form.

However, she had neither keyed in the information for the watch, nor handed it over, the court heard.

The watch has not been recovered to date, but Nurshaba has paid the passenger in full for it.

Defence lawyer John Koh told the court that his client had fully cooperated with the police and readily admitted to her crime. 

He said Nurshaba had thrown it away as she "realised that the watch was not working", and "did not know of the value of the watch when she initially took it".

She could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both for the offence.

In response to CNA's queries, Certis said it takes the matter seriously and that the officer is no longer in service.

"We take a serious view in upholding the standards and integrity of our aviation security officers, and will not hesitate to take action against those who are found guilty of serious misconduct," it said.

"Certis has a stringent recruitment process which includes conducting strict background checks prior to hiring. In addition, we hold regular refresher briefings on Certis’ zero tolerance policy of ill-discipline and criminal acts."

Source: CNA/ll(gs)