Man gets 4½ years for cheating company and victims of $520,000

Undischarged bankrupt Wong Kok Keong was sentenced to 4½ years' jail on Friday (May 13) for cheating victims of $520,000.
Undischarged bankrupt Wong Kok Keong was sentenced to 4½ years' jail on Friday (May 13) for cheating victims of $520,000. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A self-employed man who made his victims believe that he was the brother of then Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Wong Kan Seng was sentenced to 4½ years' jail on Friday (May 13) for cheating them of $520,000.

Undischarged bankrupt Wong Kok Keong, alias Wong Kock Khiang, 63, is out on $30,000 bail pending his appeal.

He had admitted to three charges, with six others, mostly under the Bankruptcy Act, taken into consideration.

He cheated three directors of Manor Construction in 2007 by deceiving them into believing that he was DPM Wong's brother, and that a sum of $180,000 representing 20 per cent of an option to purchase a property at Yung Ho Road was payable.

He deceived the company of $240,000 over another business deal.

He has since returned $209,000 to Manor, leaving an outstanding balance of $211,000.

In 2011, he cheated Mr Chiam Teck Hwa, 48, by making him believe that he was DPM Wong's brother and saying that he would invest the victim's $50,000 into a company, along with his own money.

Wong has paid Mr Chiam back, as well as to another victim, Mr Tan Teik Chin, but this charge was considered.

In Mr Chiam's case, Wong claimed he had a project to set up a company to run dialysis centre units in Parkway Group Hospital and in Marine Parade.

After Mr Chiam had given a cheque of $50,000 to Wong, he found out through a search there was no record of the company, Grace Asset Management. He also found out that Wong was not related to DPM Wong and asked for the money back.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi had said the amounts involved were substantial, and that Wong was motivated by personal profit.

Calling him a serial cheat, DPP Hon said Wong resurrected his old methods and perpetrated the same scam on the victims. In 2003, Wong was jailed for 53 months for cheating, dishonest misappropriation and obtaining of credit as a bankrupt.

Wong's lawyer Edmond Pereira said his client's ill health in recent years has resulted in increasing medical costs. His finances were crippled because his businesses had collapsed due to the adverse publicity. He said the father of three is remorseful and had cooperated with the authorities.