After claiming that there was a bomb on a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight last month, a 37-year-old man from America was just denied bail today (13 October).
The American man, La Andy Hien Duc, was previously charged on 29 September this year for using threatening words and voluntarily causing hurt to others when he was a passenger on board SIA flight SQ33, which was a flight that travelled from San Francisco in America to Singapore.
With regards to his offences, he had apparently shouted that there was a bomb on the plane while on the aircraft and had taken another passenger’s luggage from the overhead compartment in the aeroplane cabin.
Apart from that, he also allegedly attacked a cabin crew member who had attempted to restrain him.
Since his arrest, he has been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for observation, and did not appear in court today to receive the outcome of his bail application.
In particular, it was mentioned that his bail was denied due to the fact that he may cause danger to members of the public in Singapore.
Here’s all you need to know about what happened, and what happened in court as well.
What Actually Happened During the Flight
On the day when Hien Duc claimed that there was a bomb on the aircraft, he was flying on SIA flight SQ33 which had departed from San Franciso at 10.26pm local time on 26 September (1.26pm Singapore time on 27 September).
There were a total of 208 passengers on board the flight, which was supposed to touch down in Singapore at 5am.
After his claim was reported to the police at around 2.40am on 28 September, it was found that Hien Duc had made the claim around six hours before the plane arrived in Singapore.
In particular, he said that there was a bomb located in a hand-carry bag on the aircraft, which, clearly, is cause for panic.
After the police were notified, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) deployed two fighter jets in the wee hours of 28 September to escort the aircraft all the way until 5.50am when it eventually landed at Changi Airport.
Afterwards, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced on the same day that there were groups from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group and the Airport Police Division who were present to handle Hien Duc’s claims.
MINDEF then added that Hien Duc’s bomb threat was actually false in nature.
Thereafter, the Central Narcotics Bureau’s (CNB) preliminary investigations revealed that Hien Duc had tested positive for controlled drugs after taking a urine test.
Based on the Tokyo Convention Act 1971, individuals who commit crimes while flying in Singapore-controlled aircraft can be charged and dealt with according to Singapore laws.
This is even if the aircraft is not flying within Singapore, meaning that Hien Duc can be charged according to local laws.
Court Hearing Revealed Accused’s Schizophrenia, Smoked Weed in the Past As Well
In court, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Ying Min expressed objection towards granting Hien Duc bail through her written submissions.
In particular, DPP Lim pointed out that after undergoing a psychiatric assessment at IMH, the psychiatrist concluded that Hien Duc may cause danger to the public.
According to The Straits Times, Hien Duc also has schizophrenia, a mental health condition where individuals experience disordered thinking and hallucinations.
DPP elaborated more on that, saying, “The stressors of being in a foreign country, including the fact that he has no fixed place to stay and no one to monitor his compliance with his medications, are risk factors for relapse.”
Regarding Weed Consumption
Apart from that, DPP Lim also noted that Hien Duc has records of consuming cannabis, more often known as weed, in the past.
She said, “Should he gain access to drugs, it will only exacerbate his risk for relapse.
“If anything, having the accused remanded is also in the interest of his own safety.”
Accused is Flight Risk, Does Not Have Connections in Singapore
Additionally, DPP Lim also mentioned that Hien Duc, who is a citizen of America, is considered a flight risk.
In particular, he also does not have any connections to Singapore, for he does not own any residential properties and is not employed in Singapore either.
“There is therefore a real risk that the accused will abscond should he be released on bail. If this [happens], it will erode public confidence in the criminal justice system,” she explained.
Thereafter, District Judge Terence Tay expressed his agreement with DPP Lim’s pointed and ruled that Hien Duc will be denied bail.
He is also expected to appear in court later this month on 27 October.
However, Hien Duc was allowed to meet his defence lawyer after the latter, Johannes Hadi from Eugene Thuraisingam, a law firm in Singapore, requested access to his client.
In Singapore, individuals who are convicted of using threatening words that are likely to cause alarm in Singapore face a maximum fine of $5,000.
On the other hand, those convicted of voluntarily causing hurt face up to three years in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
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