Bonjour!

I am sure that you are getting excited with your upcoming trip to Medan for your surgery. There is, however, one issue that we would like to warn you about.

As Dr Arthur has experienced 3 incidents of burglaries and 2 thefts in the last 1-2 years on Silkair flights departing from Medan Kuala Namu airport, we would like to warn you not to place anything valuable inside your check-in luggage, not even a pair of expensive sandals or shoes! Dr Arthur’s expensive dress shoes were stolen twice!

To read more about the incidents, you may read the description in the video: Silkair MI 233 disaster part 1 on our YouTube channel.

You may watch part 1, 2 and 3 of the videos which are all self-explanatory.

We advise you to also take video of the condition of your luggage as you check it in, so that there is proof if you find it damaged upon retrieval at Medan Kuala Namu airport. Likewise, please take a video of the condition of your luggage when you check it in at Medan Kuala Namu airport, so that you have evidence when you find your luggage damaged upon retrieval at Singapore Changi airport. Having said that, Silkair most likely will just shirk responsibility. It is best not to use good luggage. Or if you intend to use good and expensive luggage, please get yourself an insurance coverage. Most airlines will compensate you for damaged luggage and loss, but unfortunately, Silkair is not one of them.

If you would like to read the detailed account of what happened, and email correspondence between Dr Arthur Tjandra and Silkair, please continue to read below. We do not include the first incident of damaged lock and theft, which has happened more than a year ago on Dr Arthur Tjandra’s non-stop flight from Medan-Singapore-Hong Kong-Sanya.

Luggage break-ins and forcibly opening luggage by damaging locks, as well as thefts, are extremely common at Indonesian airports. A few months ago, Dr Arthur Tjandra’s mother found her luggage being forcibly opened. One of the zipper lock had been released while the other one was stuck. As the combination lock had been tampered with, the stuck zipper could not be released, even with the right combination. The incident occurred on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Singapore to Medan. In contrast to how Silkair handles the matter, Garuda Indonesia promptly offered compensation to replace the damaged lock. You may want to take this into consideration when booking your flight to Medan. Two different airlines handling the same problem differently. It is perhaps that Silkair is a low-cost (budget) airline, therefore it does not offer compensation or repair service when a passenger’s luggage is damaged. So, this is another point to consider when booking your flights. You may save a few cents by booking a low-cost airline, but when your check-in luggage is damaged, they will refuse to accept responsibility or to offer any compensation.

Regardless of which airline you wish to take from Singapore to Medan, we strongly urge you to film the condition of your luggage as you check it in, both at Singapore Changi Airport and at Medan Kuala Namu Airport. If you find your luggage damaged or broken into upon retrieval at your destination, you will have evidence of what the original condition is when you check it in. If you put anything valuable inside your luggage, such as expensive sandals or shoes, you may also want to do a video-recording of the content of your luggage with one of the airline staff as a witness, then lock and check the luggage in while the video-recording is on. Despite all the evidence you provide if something happens, Silkair is most likely going to ignore the evidence you provide and blames it on the “act of ghost” like what they did in Dr Arthur Tjandra’s case, in which case you can post it on the internet/YouTube to name and shame them like how we do it. If you have travel insurance, your insurer is going to ask you for evidence when you make a claim. So, it is always good to prepare yourself with lots of evidence as you know that you are traveling on a high risk airline into a high risk airport!

Kind regards,

Jennifer Cotto

Client Services Coordinator

 

Incident No. 1: Silkair MI 233 flight from Medan Kuala Namu Airport to Singapore Changi Airport on 24 August 2017.

Findings:

  1. A main zipper lock being cut with metal cutter.
  2. Another zipper being released from luggage expander, presumably to replace the main cut/damaged zipper lock, but somehow the thief dropped it and lost it inside the luggage sleeve.
  3. An empty space in the luggage where the missing pair of shoes was placed.

Evidence No. 1: The original condition of the luggage.

IMG_7237

IMG_7237(1)

IMG_7239

IMG_7239(1)

Evidence No. 2: Luggage zipper has been cut with a metal cutter when it reached Singapore Changi Airport on MI 233 flight from Medan to Singapore on 24 August 2017.

IMG_7957

IMG_7959

IMG_7958(1)

Evidence No. 3: Expander compartment zipper has been released by the thief, presumably to replace the damaged (cut) main zipper, but the thief dropped and lost this released zipper in the luggage sleeve, or did not have time to replace it.

BEFORE:

IMG_7239(1)

AFTER:

IMG_7961IMG_7961(1)

IMG_7963

Evidence No. 4: Empty space in the luggage where the missing pair of dress shoes worth SGD 300 was placed.

IMG_7964

Silkair’s response: upon examining CCTV footages, no evidence of irregularity was found. Silkair refuses to admit liability nor offer compensation.

Incident No. 2: Silkair MI 233 flight from Medan Kuala Namu Airport to Singapore Changi Airport on 14 September 2017.

Findings:

  1. Two zipper locks which were held together in the center with a padlock was found to have been broken forcibly upon arrival at Singapore Changi Airport.
  2. The luggage was found in half-opened condition.

Evidence No. 1: Condition of luggage upon check-in at Medan Kuala Namu airport.

Evidence No. 2: Condition of luggage upon retrieval from luggage conveyor belt at Singapore Changi Airport arrival hall.

Photographs taken at Singapore Changi Airport arrival hall:

IMG_8080

IMG_8084

IMG_8083

IMG_8082

Silkair’s response: upon examining CCTV footages, no evidence of irregularity was found. Silkair refuses to admit liability nor offer compensation.

The following are email exchanges between Dr Arthur Tjandra and Silkair.

First incident: 24 Aug 2017

“Arthur Tjandra”

28-Aug-2017 08:13 PM

No Sender Info found in the address Book           [IMAGE]

To: <KF_contact@singaporeair.com.sg>cc: <MES_Airport@singaporeair.com.sg>, <MES_Reservation@singaporeair.com.sg>, <MES_Sales@singaporeair.com.sg>

Subject: Luggage forcibly opened and item stolen on Silkair flight from Medan to Singapore on 24th August 2017

Dear Sir/Mdm

This is the second time I experienced burglary and theft on a Silkair flight from Medan to Singapore. The first incident occurred last year. I wrote to Silkair and filed an online complaint, but received no response. This time round, I attempted to file an online complaint 7 times on 2 different day at different timing, but kept on receiving the same error message. I have taken screen shots from 2 out of the 7 attempts and posted them below.

Kindly advise what Silkair is going to do about this incident and how they are going to compensate me?

Kind regards,

Dr Arthur Tjandra

 

From: MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg [mailto:MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg]Sent: Monday, September 4, 2017 4:52 PM

To: Arthur Tjandra

Subject: [ref:M-2017-08-0754596:ref] / SINMI35080

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Our Ref: [ref:M-2017-08-0754596:ref]/  SINMI35080

Dr TJANDRA, Arthur

04 September 2017

Dear Mr Aurthur,

We are sorry to learn of the loss of your shoes in your checked in baggage while travelling with us on MI 237 from Medan to Singapore on 24 August 2017. We would like to further apologise for the delay in our response.

Our security departments completed the investigations at both Singapore and Medan and have not found any evidence or irregularities in handling to enable us to conclusively to determine that the alleged pilferage occurred.

Under the Conditions of Contract Notice of Baggage Liability Limitations, the Airline is not liable for loss of fragile and valuables which are included in your checked in baggage, whether with or without our knowledge.

As such, we regret to inform you that we are not able to compensate you for the loss your checked in item.

Once again, we sincerely apologise that you have been inconvenienced on your last trip with us and we look forward to serving you better in the future.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Jesslynn Tan

Ground Services Department

SilkAir (Singapore) Private Limited

 

From: Arthur Tjandra

Sent: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 1:01 PM

To: ‘MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg’

Subject: RE: [ref:M-2017-08-0754596:ref] / SINMI35080

Dear Jesslynn

Without Prejudice

I have consulted a lawyer and a police investigating officer. To open a case against Silkair I need to present 2 pieces of evidence or 2 witnesses. I have 2 pieces of evidence and 4 witnesses!

The 2 pieces of evidence I have, which have been verified as satisfactory by the investigating officer, are:

  1. The damaged zipper lock. It is obvious that the lock had been cut open, or forcibly opened. This cannot have occurred by accident.
  2. The released zipper lock from the expander compartment. It is obvious that the zipper lock was intentionally released. As a matter of fact, the gap has been closed back, so that it is impossible to slide the zipper lock into place anymore. The intention is clear. The culprit had intended to replace the damaged zipper lock with the expander compartment zipper lock, but failed to do so.

The 4 witnesses I have are:

  1. My two domestic helpers who helped me bring my luggage from my room on 2nd floor, to ground floor. They are willing to testify under oath that they saw the luggage was locked, with intact (not damaged) lock.
  2. My chauffeur, who loaded the luggage to my car and offloaded it again when we reached Kuala Namu airport. He also saw the luggage was locked, with intact (not damaged) lock. All my staff have been trained to check that my luggage is locked whenever I travel.
  3. Silkair check-in counter staff, whose name I can’t recall now. But she recognizes me and always addressed me by name. She, too, checked that my luggage was locked when I loaded it to the weighing machine. If she refuses to testify against Silkair, CCTV footage should be able to prove that. She clearly checked my lock, and even shook it to see if it could be released. It could not! I checked-in at Silkair counter on 24th Aug at approximately 6.30 PM. Please look for the CCTV footage.

Both lawyer and IO praised my intuition to take photographs at Changi Airport Lost and Found department. The photographs clearly show the damage, with the background of SATS logo. My camera is also GPS-enabled, so it shows the location and time when the photos were taken.

Silkair has insisted that there was no irregularity found. But, if my luggage lock was clearly intact and the last person to check was Silkair  staf herself, and when it reached Changi Airport, the lock had been broken, with missing item, who is to blame? Ghost? Since it’s the Hungry Ghost month, now?

I cannot prove theft, but I can prove the acts of vandalism and/or burglary with the above evidence and witnesses. Under the Conditions of Contract Notice of Baggage Liability Limitations, the Airline is not liable for loss of fragile and valuables which are included in a passenger’s checked in baggage, whether with or without its knowledge. However, the airline is not immune to law when it comes to criminal act committed by its own staff. The airline and its staff can be prosecuted according to the law in the country where the alleged crime takes place. Vandalism and burglary are crime according to both Indonesia and Singapore law.

Kindly advise how you would like to proceed from here.

Regards,

Dr Arthur Tjandra

 

From: MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg [mailto:MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg]

Sent: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 4:52 PM

To: Arthur Tjandra

Subject: RE: [ref:M-2017-08-0754596:ref] / SINMI35080

Dear Mr Tjandra,

We have received your  request to view the CCTV footage in Medan and would require provision of an official letter by the police in order to release the CCTV footage for viewing.

Once again, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused in this event and will await for the necessary document in order for CCTV footage to be released.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

Jesslynn Tan

Ground Services Department (SilkAir)

 

Second incident: 14 Sep 2017

From: Arthur Tjandra

Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2017 2:55 PM

To: ‘MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg’

Subject: RE: [ref:M-2017-08-0754596:ref] / SINMI35080

Dear Jesslynn

I have just arrived in Singapore on MI 223. My luggage lock is again being forcibly broken. This time round I used 2 locks instead of 1. I am also smarter this time. I took video of my luggage condition and the lock with Silkair’s staff, Bulan, as witness. I asked to check that the locks were intact while I was recoding her. After taking the video, I wrapped the luggage with a luggage protector. Upon arrival at Changi airport, the lock has been broken and the zipper went missing! This time round nothing seems to be stolen as I did not put anything valuable inside. Not even shoes! I haven’t counted my shirts, sweaters and pants yet. I have left my luggage at the left luggage office. I won’t know if there’s any shirts, pants or sweaters missing until I reach Sydney tomorrow.

I have filed a complaint with SATS. The reference No. is SINMI35430/14Sep17/0433GMT.

Let me know how you would like me to share the videos with you. I will upload the files to my YouTube channel then send the links to you. Is that  OK? But, my YouTube channel has 168,000 subscribers. So, 168,000 people worldwide are going to watch these videos.

You may request SATS to retrieve CCTV footage at the luggage belt area to see whether I have purposely damaged the locks myself. Those are made of steel for God’s sake. I did not have any instrument in the restricted area to break the locks myself!

I’d like to see what your reply is this time round. Are you going to give me the standard: “there is no evidence of irregularity found” again?

Regards,

Dr Tjandra

 

From: MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg [mailto:MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg]

Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 2:32 PM

To: Arthur Tjandra

Subject: [ref:M-2017-09-0767626:ref]/ SINMI35430

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Our Ref: [ref:M-2017-09-0767626:ref]/ SINMI35430

Mr Arthur Tjandra

19/09/2017

Dear Mr Tjandra,

We are sorry to hear of that your baggage was found damaged after your recent flight with us on MI233 from Medan to Singapore on 14 September 2017.

Please allow us to share our findings over in Medan.  During check in over in Medan, your baggage was found damage with one zipper damaged. A lock was used to pin the 2 zippers together.  Our staff at check in counter shared that you have then used a cover to cover the bag where we have also viewed the video you have provided which was accountable for.

Our Colleagues in Medan shared that they have viewed the CCTV footage with the security team and concluded that there is no attempted pilferage in Medan. The whole event of the baggage movement was supervised by Security.  In Singapore, the CCTV footage from the aircraft parking stand and baggage arrival belt were retrieved. A viewing was subsequently conducted on 15th September. However, there was no evidence or irregularities found. As such, it is with much regret that we have to inform you that there is insufficient information to conclusively determine that pilferage has occurred in Singapore or Medan.

That being said, we take such cases very seriously. In Singapore, we have working closely with SATS Security, in an attempt to identify any potential culprits and to tighten our existing security measures, to prevent a repeat of this unfortunate incident.

We understand that you have requested for the CCTV footage to be released. Kindly note that both airport authorities in Singapore and Medan are only able to release the surveillance footage upon the presentation of a police order.

Once again, we would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this event.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Jesslynn Tan

Ground Services Department SilkAir (Singapore)

 

From: Arthur Tjandra

Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:16 PM

To: ‘MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg’

Subject: RE: [ref:M-2017-09-0767626:ref]/ SINMI35430

Dear Jesslynn

Let’s not discuss about the theft incidence first, which Silkair has adamantly refused to admit. I have an insider, your own Silkair staff who has advised me that there are a number of “blind spots” which are not covered by CCTV surveillance at Kuala Namu airport. But, OK, since I can’t prove that, let’s discuss about the damaged lock and the fact that the luggage has been forcibly opened even though it was locked. My luggage was a brand new luggage when I first used it on 24th August 2017 on Medan-Singapore route. One of the zippers was found to have been cut with a metal cutter when I arrived in Singapore. A pair of shoes went missing. I used back the same luggage on my trip from Medan to Singapore on 14th Sep 2017, as I wanted to show to Silkair staff that evidence that the zipper had been cut. But, none of your senior management appeared although I have requested you to ask one of them to take a look. Anyway, the condition of the cut lock was filmed and already uploaded on my YouTube channel. I used a padlock to lock and hold the 2 zippers together on the trip from Medan to Singapore on 14th Sep. When I arrived in Singapore, the zippers have been pried open. Can you explain what caused that? Considerable force has to be used to break the steel. So, are you going to blame it on the ghost again as it’s the Hungry Ghost month?

Regards,

Dr Tjandra

 

From: MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg [mailto:MI_Baggage@Singaporeair.com.sg]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:22 PM
To: Arthur Tjandra
Subject: RE: [ref:M-2017-09-0767626:ref]/ SINMI35430

Dear Mr Tjandra,

We acknowledge the precautions that you have taken, which we have verified with our colleagues in Medan as well. While we do not doubt the authenticity of your accounts, we would require evidence which clearly documents the act of pilferage, before we can conclude that pilferage has indeed taken place.

Regrettably, as both investigations have revealed no footage of foul play, we will henceforth consider both investigation cases to be closed. Should you choose to have the CCTV footage reviewed by law enforcement, we would be most willing to assist upon receipt of a notice from the police force in Medan and Singapore.

Once again, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Jesslynn Tan
Ground Services Department SilkAir (Singapore)

One Comment on “Announcement No. 4: Beware of burglaries and thefts on Silkair flight from Medan to Singapore and vice versa!

  1. Pingback: Announcement No. 5: Buy travel insurance and keep all the things you need for your surgery in your carry-on bag (not check-in luggage) when you visit us! – L'Elixir de Vie, by Arthur Tjandra (曾华浚), M.D., FICS (Plastic Surgery)

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