Jail, cane for man who pawned fake gold bars

PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man managed to dupe not one but two pawnshops into handing over a total of $14,000 for eight so-called "gold bars".

But the items turned out to have been only plated with the precious metal.

Tan Jieshou, now 33, who received $700 for his role in the ruse, was sentenced 13 months and six weeks' jail with six strokes of the cane on Thursday (Oct 5) after pleading guilty to being in possession of two weapons in public, assault, verbally abusing a policeman and a cheating charge involving $7,000.

A second cheating charge involving another $7,000 and one count of criminal intimidation were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Tan committed these offences between October 2015 and September last year.

The court heard that two unidentified men approached him at a Geylang coffee shop on Sept 10 last year and asked if he could help them in pawning four gold bars.

They claimed that they were not Singaporeans and promised to give Tan five per cent of the pawn amount received as a commission. Tan agreed to help them and the two men drove him to a Maxi-Cash branch at Yishun Avenue 5.

Tan showed the gold bars to a staff member and lied by saying that he had inherited them from his grandfather.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said: "The victim would have rejected the gold bars and would have first asked for a receipt of purchase had the accused not represented that the gold bars were inherited from his grandfather."

After receiving $7,000 from the staff member, Tan handed over the money to one of the two men. Tan was then given his commission.

According to court documents, Tan pulled a similar stunt at a nearby pawnshop that day and received another $7,000.

It is not clear if Tan knew that they are fake. It is also not clear if the other two men have been arrested.

Besides cheating, DPP Yeo said that at around 11.20pm on Oct 25, 2015, police were deployed to Marina Mandarin Singapore hotel after Tan, who used to work as a part-time waiter there, had behaved aggressively towards a staff member.

Officers arrested Tan as they suspected that he had consumed drugs. While he was in the lockup area at the Police Cantonment Complex about 40 minutes later, he verbally abused a police officer with vulgarities.

On Feb 15, last year, Tan repeatedly hit and punched his girlfriend after he found a Valentine's Day greeting from another man in her mobile phone.

About seven months later, police arrested Tan after he was found to be in possession of two knives in a Geylang Road toilet.

"The accused did not provide any lawful purpose and did not have lawful authority for possession of these offensive weapons," said DPP Yeo.

For cheating, Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined. And for being in possession of the weapons, he could have been jailed for up to three years with at least six strokes of the cane.