SINGAPORE — A man who allegedly made a bomb threat on a Scoot flight from Singapore to Perth in October, thus forcing the plane to turn back to Singapore under fighter jet escort, is set to plead guilty next month.
Hawkins Kevin Francis, 30, appeared in court through video link on Monday (Dec 18) where he was represented by defence counsel Dhillon Surinder Singh.
The Australian was earlier charged on Oct 14 under the United Nations Act for making a false bomb threat while onboard an aircraft.
On the afternoon of Oct 12, the police were alerted to a bomb threat made on board Scoot flight TR16, which was en route from Singapore to Perth, Australia.
During the flight, Hawkins allegedly told a male cabin crew member: “I have a bomb.”
Hawkins also repeatedly uttered the word “bomb” to a female cabin crew member.
At this point, the plane had already departed Singapore and had to turn back with the escort of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter jets because of the threat.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post then that two F-15SG fighter planes were scrambled to escort the flight back to Changi Airport.
The Scoot plane landed on the same evening.
Officers from the Airport Police Division and Special Operations Command’s K-9 Unit were then mobilised to investigate the purported bomb threat, the police said.
At the time, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said that one runway was closed for about an hour “to facilitate ground operations”, with eight arriving flights and six departures experiencing some delay because of the incident.
During the hearing, Mr Dhillon told the court that he had discussed the sentencing with Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Grace Chua.
Since his client has been in remand for close to three months and would likely be released soon based on the prosecution’s sentencing position, Mr Dhillon sought an expedited date for Hawkins to plead guilty.
District Judge Brenda Tan granted the request and set the date for him to plead guilty on Dec 22.
Anyone found guilty of making a false bomb threat could be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$500,000, or both.