The person responsible for the bomb scare on Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ33 was charged in court on Thursday (29 Sep).
He was charged for causing alarm and voluntarily causing hurt during the incident where he allegedly shouted that a bomb was on the plane.
The man has been identified as La Andy Hien Duc, a 37-year-old American. His urine test has also returned positive for controlled drugs.
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), the police said preliminary investigations revealed that other than shouting that there was a bomb on the plane, La Andy Hien Duc also grabbed another passenger’s luggage from the cabin’s overhead compartment.
A cabin crew staff tried to stop him, but they were allegedly assaulted.
Police noted that the cabin crew did not find any suspicious items in the luggage after checking.
Even though the crime took place aboard a flight outside of Singapore territory, The Straits Times reported that the offender can be charged under Singapore law as the crime occurred on a Singapore-controlled aircraft.
This is in accordance with the Tokyo Convention Act 1971.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) stressed that they would not hesitate to take action against anyone who causes public alarm with false threats.
Beyond the fear and inconvenience caused to other members of the public, the making of false threats comes at a cost, in the extensive public resources that have to be deployed to deal with the incident.
At 5.50am on Wednesday (28 Sep), SIA flight SQ33 arrived at Changi Airport from San Francisco and was escorted by the Republic of Singapore Airforce (RSAF) fighter jets.
An SIA spokesperson said prior to the landing, the unruly passenger had hit a cabin crew member and made a bomb threat. The passenger was then restrained on board.
Police received information earlier at 2.30am regarding the bomb threat.
The 37-year-old suspect was promptly arrested, and MINDEF later confirmed that the bomb threat was false. SIA apologised for the inconvenience caused.
A passenger on the plane took to Twitter to share her experience of being stuck on the plane. She said her flight suffered a four-hour delay due to the incident.
All 208 passengers and 17 cabin crew members could only disembark at 9.30am due to the implementation of additional security measures.
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