It took nearly six months, but Ngui How Ing got a bit of justice yesterday after her Grab driver was sentenced to jail for taking off with her money, passports and belongings during a January visit to Singapore.
According to Today, the 46-year-old Malaysian was heading into Changi Airport with her husband and two children after a holiday, when she discovered her black backpack was missing. Inside were six passports (key when you’re trying to leave the country), three ID cards, two birth certificates, one marriage certificate, her phone and a stash of Malaysian, Australian and New Zealand currency.
The shaken Ngui quickly contacted Grab and filed a report with the police. This, however, is where things get interesting.
Even though 48-year-old Grab driver Christopher Chan Fook Choy had what Ngui was looking for, he decided to play dumb, telling the ride-hailing company he didn’t have the bag. He then kept the valuables for himself and promptly disposed of the passports and other identification items (all of which are a giant pain in the ass to replace) that belonged to the family.
After finally getting picked up by police in May, Chan finally faced a judge yesterday, where he pled guilty and was promptly handed a sentence of three weeks’ jail time for “dishonest misappropriation,” which sounds like a really fancy term for “stealing” to us.
The same report also notes that Chan was ordered to compensate his victims S$7,762 in installments for the cost they incurred in having to replace the passports and other documents.
As you might imagine, Chan’s act of dishonesty has caused the Malaysian family plenty of distress. Apart from incurring the hefty cost of forfeiting their flight, Channel 8 News reported that the family — which lives in New Zealand — had to return to Malaysia to replace their passports, identification cards, birth certificates and marriage certificate.
If you’re thinking that three weeks’ jail time for stealing a family’s belongings and upending their lives to this degree feels on the light side, you’re not alone.
Most netizens were glad to see the driver get his just desserts, but some felt that his three weeks’ jail sentence was too short and said he should be punished more severely for his crime.
For their part, Grab told Coconuts Singapore they suspend or terminate drivers found guilty of theft as a matter of policy.
“In an event where a passenger leaves behind his/her belongings in the vehicle, Grab driver-partners are required to inform Grab within 4 hours of discovery, and return the belongings to the passenger concerned or to the Grab Drivers Centre within 48 hours of discovery,” a Grab spokesperson said in response to queries.
This article, Grab driver busted: Act of greed left a Malaysian family stranded with no passports and valuables, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!