Cook jailed for role in parcel scam

A 35-year-old cook was pro- mised $500 for letting his bank account be used to receive money obtained from a scam involving two victims, and then depositing the amounts in other people's bank accounts.

For his role in a "DHL" scam, Soong Kean Soon from Malaysia was jailed for 18 months yesterday, after he admitted to three charges under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. Six other similar charges were considered during his sentencing.

A district court heard that around mid-July last year, Soong agreed to help a friend, known as Ah Jin, by giving him his United Overseas Bank account number in return for $500.

Money claimed to be "proceeds of gambling'' would be deposited into the account, and he would withdraw the cash. But the money came from a scam that involved parcels sent to China.

One of them took place on July 26 and the victim was a 36-year-old Malaysian woman.

A woman who claimed she was from courier company DHL had called and told the Malaysian she had sent a parcel to China with some "illegal items'' and the police were investigating.

The call was then transferred to a person in China who introduced himself as a police officer.

The bogus cop told the victim her bank account in Singapore would be frozen for three years, and offered to help her shorten the period to one week.

She was directed to a China Police website where she entered her personal and Internet banking details.

After giving another set of her personal identification number, she was told to wait three days for the investigation to be completed.

When she called DHL the same afternoon, she realised she had been swindled.

Her bank account showed that two unauthorised electronic transfers of $7,900 and $12,300 had been made.

Both sums were deposited into Soong's bank account. Ah Jin messaged him to withdraw the $20,200 immediately .

Soong was later told to withdraw another $10,000 deposited into his account and put the money into a UOB account.

The money came from a 65-year-old who had been conned the same way.

After Soong carried out Ah Jin's instructions on withdrawals and deposits into various bank accounts, he kept the remaining $606 as his commission.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Cook jailed for role in parcel scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe