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Hello, this is your 'captain' sneaking

Alexandrinus Seetoh rushing out of the Subordinate Courts on October 24. He has been granted adischarge not amounting to an acquittal. He is suspected to be suffering from a mental illness and is believed to have used a fake pilot's identity card to make his ruse more convincing.But he failed in all five attempts. (ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW)

Publication Date : 25-10-2012

 

SINGAPORE: It was like a scene from the movie Catch Me If You Can. Dressed in a pilot's uniform and carrying an identification card, Alexandrinus Seetoh walked on board three different Tiger Airways flights. The trouble was, he was not a real pilot but an imposter trying to gain access to the cockpit. The 37-year-old, who is suspected to be suffering from a mental illness, used a fake identity card to make his ruse more convincing, The Straits Times understands. His escapades were reminiscent of the 2002 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a young man who successfully poses as an airline captain for the now- defunct carrier Pan Am. In Seetoh's case, however, the mission was apparently not successful. "At no point did he enter the cockpit despite his attempts to gain entry," said a Tiger Airways spokesman.

 

It was like a scene from the movie Catch Me If You Can.

Dressed in a pilot's uniform and carrying an identification card, Alexandrinus Seetoh walked on board three different Tiger Airways flights.

The trouble was, he was not a real pilot but an imposter trying to gain access to the cockpit.

The 37-year-old, who is suspected to be suffering from a mental illness, used a fake identity card to make his ruse more convincing, The Straits Times understands.

His escapades were reminiscent of the 2002 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a young man who successfully poses as an airline captain for the now- defunct carrier Pan Am.

In Seetoh's case, however, the mission was apparently not successful.

"At no point did he enter the cockpit despite his attempts to gain entry," said a Tiger Airways spokesman.

She confirmed that the Singaporean was on board the flights in question as "a normal, paying passenger".

Court papers state that Seetoh showed his forged pilot's identity card to four crew members and one pilot between January and April last year.

He was first caught at about 2:45pm on January 10, when he tried to trick Captain Francois Daniel Jansen Van Vuuren, who was in command of flight TR2182, into believing he was a pilot.

Seetoh faced five charges of fraudulently passing himself off as a pilot using a forged identity card. But he was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by District Judge Shaifuddin Saruwan.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amardeep Singh requested the move after Seetoh underwent a psychiatric assessment and several pre-trial conferences.

Such applications are made by the prosecution for various reasons, including a lack of evidence or the absence of a key witness. But the prosecution can still reopen the case if more evidence is uncovered.

Lawyer Josephus Tan, who is defending Seetoh under the Law Society's Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, told the court that his client's parents have submitted a joint affidavit and will be ensuring that he seeks treatment at the Institute of Mental Health.

On October 24, Seetoh turned up at the Subordinate Courts in a suit and accompanied by his parents. When approached for an interview, he said: "I have no comment, I am flying off tonight."

 

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