Man jailed and fined for stealing two F1 passes worth over $20,000

Wan Ting Koh
File photo of Singapore F1 Grand Prix’s Marina Bay City Circuit. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

He stole two exclusive passes and other Formula 1 Grand Prix-related items worth more than $20,000 at a hotel and later invited a friend to trespass with him into a restricted area at the race venue.

But Chen Jianyi was caught in the act when he later tried to enter the Ferrari garage with his friend.

On Friday (22 September), Chen, 35, was convicted on one count of theft and one count of criminal trespass and jailed for one month and fined $1,500. Five similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Chen, a Singaporean, had stolen the items from a room, which was used to store F1-related items on the second floor of Conrad Centennial Hotel. An event manager at Just Marketing (JMI), a marketing company, had been storing its items in the room.

On the day of the 2016 F1 motor race on 18 September, Chen was on the second floor of the hotel around 1.15am when he came across the room. He saw a bundle of F1 passes and lanyards, as the door had been left unlocked by the event manager. He entered the room and took two Paddock Club passes, worth 6,634 euros each (S$10,123), two F1 itinerary cards and ear plugs and two F1 program cards with lanyards. In total, the items were worth S$20,253.20.

Chen slipped the items into his right front pocket before leaving the room at around 1.20am. The event manager discovered that the items were missing and reported it to the 2016 F1 Grand Prix organisers.

Later that day, at around 4.30pm, Chen and a friend, Say Kwee Tat, whom he had invited, used the two passes to enter the Paddock Club, which was a restricted area at the junction of Temasek Avenue and Raffles Boulevard. The two wandered around before entering the Ferrari garage, where they were stopped and detained by F1 Grand Prix staff. Chen was later arrested by the police.

Dhanwant Singh, Chen’s lawyer, asked for probation for his client, whom he said was currently out of a job. He said that there was no actual loss to JMI as the invited guests were still able to go to the event.

However, the prosecution disagreed with a probation sentence, which is usually given to young offenders. DPP Alexander Woon asked for a month’s jail and a fine of $1,500 for Chen, arguing that the amount involved in the theft charge was large and that Chen had enjoyed entry into a private club.

For criminal trespass, Chen could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined a maximum $1,500 and for theft, he could have been jailed up to seven years and/or fined.