Monday, October 3, 2011

Illegal and dangerous trade in Changi Airport

According to the local media in Singapore a new way of touting emerged in Changi Airport. A tout approaches a traveler with light baggage and offers him/her money to carry heavy items as their own in exchange of some money. This is a very dangerous offer to accept in Singapore since you can have no way to know what is inside the item someone else is giving to you. It can be a cargo which can take you to gallows since many destinations in South East Asia have very high penalties for drug trafficking. In most likely cases you may end up trying to smuggle counterfeit items into a country with a lot of penalties and headache waiting for you ahead:

"According to a report in The Sunday Times today, these touts approach travelers with light baggage and offer between $5 to $10 per kg to check in bulky items as their own.

When a deal is made with the touts, they will call up a delivery truck which offloads goods like TVs and computers as baggage for the travellers to carry. A tout will accompany the traveller to the check in counter and hand over payment once the baggage successfully goes through.

Speaking to reporters, the airport authorities say that they are aware of the problem and that the airport police conduct regular anti-touting patrols. However, the touts persist and a number of travellers have already encountered them.

Foreign worker Raj Rajan was one of these travellers that reporters witnessed being approached by touts. The 29-year-old was offered $150 to check in a 20kg TV set as his own baggage. Despite the danger of possible contraband hidden in the baggage, Raj agreed to work for the touts because he needed the money." - New illegal trade at Changi airport

Refuse to carry anything which do not belong to you or packed by you in and out of Singapore. Even if it means being rude. In 2009, I was travelling to Jakarta from Singapore with my boss for a business meeting. 2 nice and attractive ladies in their 40s approached to my boss and told him that they were carrying Bibles with them but they have exceeded their weight limit. Could we help them to carry the excess bags for them? I was shocked when he politely told "why not?". Without hesitation, I smiled into the face of the ladies and told my boss "we need to talk, alone." I took him a little bit away and told him that he has no way what are inside those books and if he is carrying the bag I am not travelling with him. He agreed that it was dangerous to carry someone else's items. He went to the ladies and apologized. I also did so. They were most probably 2 nice missionaries really carrying Bibles but how can you be sure?

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