SINGAPORE: An Australian man was charged on Saturday (Oct 14) with making a bomb threat that forced a Scoot flight bound for Perth to turn back to Singapore.
On Oct 12, the police were alerted at about 4.55pm to a bomb threat on board Scoot flight TR16.
During the flight, the man had allegedly informed cabin crew members repeatedly that he was in possession of a bomb, the police said in a press release.
By this time, the plane had already departed Singapore and it had to turn back, under the escort of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter jets, due to the threat.
The plane landed at Changi Airport at about 6.26pm.
“For the safety of all passengers and crew, officers from Airport Police Division and Special Operations Command’s K-9 Unit, were mobilised to investigate the bomb threat,” the police said.
“As a result of the additional security measures implemented to ensure the safety of all persons on board flight TR16, there was a delay of more than five hours before the nine crew members and 362 passengers disembarked in Singapore at around 9.19pm.”
The flight subsequently departed Singapore to Perth at 11.41pm.
The police arrested the suspect, a 30-year-old Australian man, with the bomb threat found as false. Hawkins Kevin Francis was charged on Saturday with the offence of making false threats of terrorist acts and remanded in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), according to court documents.
If convicted, he may face a fine of up to S$500,000 (US$364,830), a jail term of up to 10 years, or both. He will return to court on Oct 27.
Under the Tokyo Convention Act 1971, if a crime takes place on a Singapore-controlled aircraft flying outside of the country, the offender can be charged with the offence under Singapore laws.