Conspirator gets 32 months for abetment to cheat car rental companies

Koh, 40, conspired with several others to cheat car rental companies by selling their cars across the Causeway.
Koh, 40, conspired with several others to cheat car rental companies by selling their cars across the Causeway.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A man who conspired with several others to cheat car rental companies by selling their cars across the Causeway 11 years ago was jailed for 32 months on Wednesday.

Koh Choon Siong, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of abetment by conspiracy to cheat businesses engaged in the rental of cars on Dec 14, 2004. Two other similar charges were considered during his sentencing.

One of his accomplices, Lai Kah Goon, 50, was also jailed 32 months recently. Lai was told to rent a car at L&K Limousine Services that day.

He was supposed to return the car worth $85,250 two days later. Instead, he passed the car to Koh, who drove it to Malaysia and handed it over to two other conspirators, Steven Koh Chin Guan and Alvin Ng.

The duo, who are at large, sold the vehicle to unknown buyers.

Lai similarly rented another car worth $120,000 from Motorway Car Rentals on the same day. He passed the car to Koh, who drove it to Malaysia and delivered it to the same conspirators the next day.

Koh alleged that he was given $1,000 to $2,000 for his role in the offence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Charis Low had urged the court to impose a similar sentence of 32 months or more on Koh, who was the link between Lai and the other co-conspirators in Malaysia. Koh was also the one who got Lai the job, she said.

While Lai was the one who rented the car and was the face of the scam, Ms Low said it did not mean the rest working behind the scene were less culpable.

The total amount misappropriated in the four charges was $355,250. Only one vehicle was recovered.

In passing sentence, District Judge Low Wee Ping told Koh that the court had given him the benefit of the doubt as to whether he was more culpable.

Koh could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.