Man claimed to be ex-DPM's brother to cheat victims

Wong Kok Keong invited three shareholders of Manor Construction to invest in a project and also duped them into agreeing to buy shares in a company. He encashed the cheques they gave him,
Wong Kok Keong invited three shareholders of Manor Construction to invest in a project and also duped them into agreeing to buy shares in a company. He encashed the cheques they gave him,ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Bankrupt duped four men out of $470k after saying he was related to Wong Kan Seng

An undischarged bankrupt duped four victims into paying him $470,000 after claiming to be the brother of then Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Wong Kan Seng, a court heard.

Wong Kok Keong, alias Wong Kock Khiang, 63, pleaded guilty to three of nine charges.

Five of the six remaining charges to be considered relate to him obtaining credit from the victims without disclosing that he was an undischarged bankrupt. He was made bankrupt on March 9, 2001.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi told the court that Messrs Lim Swee Guan, 53, Chian Jee Khin, 42, and Heng Choon Leng, 45, then shareholders of Manor Construction, came to know Wong in September 2007.

Asked if he was related to or the brother of then DPM Wong, he said yes.

Wong claimed that he knew the director of the company that had the lease of a plot of land in Yung Ho Road in Jurong. Wong said the lessee had agreed to sell part of his rights to the land to him, for him to construct a commercial building on it. He invited Manor Construction, through the victims, to invest in the project. They agreed.

They issued him a cheque for $180,000 on Sept 27 as payment for 20 per cent of the "option to purchase", which he encashed the same day.

When the trio later asked him on multiple occasions for the documents, he could not produce them.

He finally told them in April 2008 that the investment was unsuccessful and promised to return the sum.

DPP Hon said that, in fact, there was no such project or option to purchase the plot of land in Jurong. Nor was Wong the brother of then DPM Wong. At around the same time, Wong had also told the trio that he could get preferential shares in a listed company called Advance Modules Group.

He claimed that he was arranging for a deal with the company, and that due to the deal, its shares would rise to 50 cents a share.

He duped the trio into agreeing to buy 1.6 million shares, at 15 cents per share, amounting to $240,000.

After Wong got the money in two cheques, he encashed them. He later told them that he could not secure the purchase of the shares and promised to return the $240,000.

One of the charges he pleaded guilty to relate to a 2011 cheating case - Wong conned Mr Chiam Teck Hwa, 48, into giving him $50,000 after making him believe that he was then DPM Wong's brother, and that the money would be invested in a company relating to dialysis. He has since repaid the amount to Mr Chiam.

Wong's lawyer Edmond Pereira will give his mitigation plea on April 26.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline 'Man claimed to be ex-DPM's brother to cheat victims'. Print Edition | Subscribe