LONDON – Singapore news sources have reported that the man at the centre of this week’s bomb threat on a Singapore Airlines flight has now been charged.
On Wednesday this week, police were alerted to an alleged bomb threat, made against Singapore Airlines flight SQ33 – an Airbus A350 aircraft – which was operating from San Francisco to Singapore Changi Airport. The flight had departed normally from San Francisco on Tuesday at approximately 1.26pm SGT.
An American man, La Andy Hien Duc (37) who had alleged there was a bomb placed aboard the flight, has now been charged under Singaporean law covering a criminal act on a Singapore-controlled aircraft operating in international airspace.
He is now charged with making the false allegation that a bomb was secreted in a bag aboard the flight, and the alleged assault of a cabin crew member who attempted to intervene.
La Andy Hien Duc was eventually restrained by the cabin crew and was later arrested. AviationSource reported on the developing story earlier this week.
The police report stated that: “Preliminary investigations indicate that during the flight, the man had allegedly shouted that there was a bomb on the plane and grabbed another passenger’s luggage from the cabin’s overhead compartment.”
As a precautionary measure, two F16 C/D fighter jets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) were scrambled to escort the Singapore Airlines flight into Changi Airport, and the aircraft eventually landed at Changi Airport at 5.50am local time on Wednesday morning.
Flight SQ33 initially entered a holding procedure around Riau Archipelago before making an uneventful approach and landing.
The 208 passengers on board and the crew complement of 17 were held for approximately 4 hours before being disembarked at 9.30am.
Singapore Police added that a subsequent search revealed no suspicious items in his bag, although the man subsequently returned a positive test for controlled substances.
The police statement said: “Preliminary investigations by the Central Narcotics Bureau revealed that the man’s urine tested positive for controlled drugs.”
Singaporean Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugan has pointed to the serious nature of the situation, citing the bomb incident as one of the dangerous consequences of drug usage.
If found guilty of the offence, La Andy Hien Duc may face a fine of up to S$5,000 for the actual bomb threat. He potentially faces another fine of up to S$5,000 and three years in jail for voluntarily causing hurt.
He has been remanded for psychiatric observation at the Institute of Mental Health.