Chinese national jailed 1 1/2 years for gold scam

A Chinese national who came here equipped to cheat Singaporeans was jailed for a year and six months on Tuesday.

Xiong Jianyuan, 41, brought in fake gold ingots and statues as well as 14 fragments of real gold, a district court head.

He and accomplice Yang Yanqun, 45, arrived here on Dec 25 last year and checked into a Geylang hotel. Some days later, Yang phoned retiree Yong Heong Seng, 77, pretending to be a distant relative from Xiamen city in China.

On Jan 6, the duo met him at a food centre in Bishan. The two men lied that they had been working here for several years and had unearthed some gold items at a construction site. They asked Mr Yong if he wanted to buy them.

The older man said that he need to inspect the items first. The two foreigners then produced a statue and seven ingots. To back up the claim that these were made of genuine gold, they offered to saw a fragment from an ingot to allow Mr Yong to check the gold content.

Police, who had received a tip-off about the duo's activities, then arrived and arrested them. Items seized from their hotel room included 98 gold coloured ingots and three statues. Chemical analysis revealed that they were made up of mainly copper and zinc.

Last month, Xiong had also been jailed 1 1/2 years.

khush@sph.com.sg