Man accused of abetting to cheat car buyer

Last December, customers gathered outside Volks Auto in MacPherson Road, looking for the owner. The firm had collected over $3.6 million from more than 100 buyers without delivering the cars. Police later confirmed that the owner had left Singapore i
Last December, customers gathered outside Volks Auto in MacPherson Road, looking for the owner. The firm had collected over $3.6 million from more than 100 buyers without delivering the cars. Police later confirmed that the owner had left Singapore in early December that year, before customers found out his business was closed.ST FILE PHOTO

He worked for Volks Auto, which took over $3.6m from clients

An employee of a car dealership, which shut its doors after allegedly collecting over $3.6 million from more than 100 buyers without delivering the cars, was charged with abetment to cheat yesterday.

Koh Chek Seng, 33, did not enter a plea to his single charge of conspiring with Volks Auto owner Alvin Loo Mun Yu and another man, Jason Koh Chi Kang, to deceive a customer into believing that the company was able to import and deliver a Toyota Harrier 2.0, thereby dishonestly inducing the victim to pay a $25,500 deposit on July 10 last year.

Koh was remanded for another week at Bedok Police Division to assist in the probe. District Judge Eddy Tham granted the prosecution's application to allow Koh to be taken out for investigations.

The police prosecutor told the court that Koh is believed to have been involved in similar cases of non-delivery of cars and could face more charges at a later date.

Volks Auto made the news a year ago after disgruntled customers gathered outside the parallel importer in MacPherson Road to look for Loo. Some customers also contacted the media to highlight their plight.

Parallel importers such as Volks Auto purchase cars from dealers overseas and sell them in the local market for a profit, typically at prices lower than those charged by authorised dealers.

Drawn by advertised prices that were about $10,000 lower than prevailing rates, customers who were allegedly cheated said they each paid $20,000 to $30,000 in down payments to Volks Auto.

Police later confirmed that Loo left Singapore in early December last year, before customers discovered his business was closed.

Koh's case will be heard again next Wednesday. If convicted of his cheating charge, he faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Man accused of abetting to cheat car buyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe