Singaporean and Australian charged for making bomb threats — to cruise ship and to Scoot flight

Two people — one of them Singaporean, another Australian — were charged today in Singapore in separate incidents of making bomb threats. The Singaporean made a bomb threat to a cruise ship run by Resorts World Cruises, berthed at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. The Australian was on a Scoot flight going to Perth, Australia, when he claimed to have a bomb, forcing the aircraft to return to Changi International Airport in Singapore.

Following the bomb threat while the Scoot plane was in mid-air, going from Singapore to Perth, it was escorted back by two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft. Representative photo courtesy: Instagram/flyscoot

‘The ship will explode’

The cruise ship incident occurred yesterday, when the accused Neo Hui Ghim, aged 39, allegedly sent an e-mail to Resorts World Cruises customer care with the subject line: “Bomb at Resorts World Cruises”. The mail was received by the company around 2.30pm. Neo demanded some sort of a refund from the company and threatened to set off a bomb unless the demand was met. “Please return me back my monies else the ship will explode and everyone dropped into the sea,” he allegedly wrote in the e-mail.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) was alerted almost immediately. The police, along with Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) personnel and Marina Bay Cruise Centre security staff checked the entire ship. This whole incident caused a delay for about 4,000 passengers. Fortunately, the threat was a hoax and no bomb was found on the cruise ship.

The e-mail sender was arrested within about three hours. He was charged in court and then sent to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a checkup. Conviction in the case would mean for him a jail term of up to 7 years; a fine up to SGD50,000; or both.

‘I have a bomb’

The Scoot flight incident occurred the day before yesterday, when the plane (flight TR16) was already in the air, on its way to Perth. The accused Hawkins Kevin Francis, 30, allegedly said “I have a bomb” to a cabin crew member around 4.30pm. He repeated the word “bomb” at least one more time to another crew member.

The crew alerted the captain, and it was decided that the plane would fly back to Changi. It was escorted back by two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft. The SPF was informed of the bomb threat on the flight around 4.55pm. The plane landed at Changi at 6.26pm, with 362 passengers and nine crew members. Upon inspection, no bomb was found.

Francis was charged in court with making false threats of terrorist acts, and was sent for a mental health checkup. His punishment, if convicted, would be a jail term up to 10 years; a fine of up to SGD500,000; or both.