Chinese Man Gets Over 2 Years in Prison for Stealing $88,700 From Jeweler on Singapore Airlines Flight

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jun 22, 2024 02:47 AM EDT

A Chinese man was sentenced to two-and-a-half-year in prison on Friday for stealing around S$120,000 (US$88,700) from a Singaporean jeweler on a Singapore Airlines flight.

According to CNA, the theft occurred last March 5. Suspect Peng Hui targeted the jeweler, who was heading home after attending trade fairs in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Criminal Suspect

(Photo : Saurabh Sinha from Pixabay)

Chinese Man Steals $88,700 From Singaporean Jeweler

During the Singapore Airlines flight SQ899, which left Hong Kong for Singapore, the jeweler, carrying US$131,000 and HKD$122,000 (US$15,630), placed his backpack in the overhead compartment.

The 54-year-old Chinese national discreetly removed US$80,000 and HKD$ 70,000 from the bag while the jeweler was distracted. Upon landing in Singapore, the jeweler declared the amount of cash he was carrying.

However, when he got to his office a few hours after landing, he discovered the missing money and rushed to report it. Peng Hui, who also disembarked at Changi Airport, checked into a hotel and counted the stolen money. 

READ NEXT: Retail Giants Like T.J. Maxx Report Multiple Theft Cases From Organized Crime Rings 

Singaporean Authorities Arrest Chinese Man After Intensive Police Investigations 

Peng Hui converted some of the currency into Singapore dollars. Knowing that casinos could change foreign currencies into casino chips, he went to Marina Bay Sands casino, changed US$30,000 into casino chips, and gambled some of them.

He later cashed out S$42,400 worth of chips. Peng also attempted to wire S$19,900 to his wife and S$9,500 to his brother, both in China. However, the police stopped these transactions.

The Chinese man was arrested the next day after thorough police investigations involving looking into security camera footage. Authorities recovered about S$66,761 in cash, S$37,900 from the remittance firms Peng had tried to wire to China, and HK$69,000. He was then charged and jailed.

Peng, who apologized to the jeweler as he expressed remorse, told the court during his plea for leniency that he had diabetes and only one kidney and was taking care of his over 80-year-old mother.

"I am the only child. I would like to take care of her, but I would be going to jail... so I hope that your honor will reduce the jail term, and I know that I am in the wrong," he said, as CNA reported.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tung Shou Pin noted that the huge amount of money the Chinese man stole made it one of the worst cases of airplane theft.

READ MORE: Chinese Man Arrested as Cybercrime Ringleader in US-Led Bust; Luxury Assets Confiscated

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